Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

Renowned painter Robert Oliver has attacked a painting in the National Gallery of Art. Andrew Marlow, the psychiatrist assigned to his case, only receives the mysterious clue, "I did it for her" before Oliver stops speaking to everyone. But who is the woman Oliver refers to? Marlow begins his search as a doctor hoping to cure his troubled patient, but it becomes a personal quest to discover the link between the women Oliver has left behind. Woven into the mystery is a package of love letters a century old. 19th century France and 21st century America come together in this tale of love, betrayal, secrecy, and artistic genius.

It took me over a month to get through this book. At 565 pages, this is a tome and it reads like one. Not much seems to happen, and yet I was still pulled along through its pages. This is a book for you to savor, to reach for in quiet moments when you want to stroll through landscapes and museums. It won't keep you on the edge of your seat, but you'll spend so much time with the characters you'll begin to forget you've never actually met them.

The ending seemed to come together a bit too easily for me, as if Kostova wanted to tie up her novel in a neat little bow. Otherwise I thought this was a great read. The character development was well-done (as it should be in a book this long), the writing was great, and the plot was intriguing.

4 out of 5 stars

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