Jun 12, 2010

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

The Swan Thieves
Author:  Elizabeth Kostova
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Release Date:  January 12th 2010
Hardcover, 560 pages

From Goodreads:

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, history's losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope..


I had been looking forward to reading the Swan Thieves, and it didn't disappoint. I take immense pleasure in reading Author Elizabeth Kostova’s writing. It's beautiful, and flows just right.

I’ve mentioned before that I prefer books plot driven, but I digress when it comes to Ms. Kostova. The Swan Thieves is part mystery, part love story, brought together nicely. Pyschiatrist Andrew Marlowe comes in contact with Robert Oliver when he comes to the mental hospital Andrew works at after Robert Oliver is arrested for trying to slash a painting at a musuem. Robert’s not talking all he does is paint the same face over and over, and Andrew begins to wonder who is this women he paints, and how does it connect with the painting at the museum, if at all.  Ms. Kostova's words made me want to see the world with a painter’s eyes.

The story is more character driven, and the mystery is not all that hard to figure out. I knew how it was going to end probably about half way through. Though, I was intrigued with how the layers were being peeled away to reveal the why, and how.  The story switches back and forth between Dr. Marlowe, the two women in Robert’s life, and a young women in the late 19th century.

My only complaint with The Swan Thieves is the ending. It was as if with a snap of the finger the book ends. A bad mark in a otherwise great book.

Rating: 4


  1. I love mysteries mixed with romance!!! I love trying to figure out what is really going to happen, most times I am totally surprised at the end!!! But its still fun all the same, dont you think? Great review!!

    Happy Reading!

  2. I still haven't read this one, but am anxious to do so. Thanks 4 sharing your thoughts.

  3. This is a book that I've been dying to get my hands on. I even won it... but it was an audiobook, so I gave it away (don't do audiobooks lol). I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed it. I'm looking even more forward to reading it now!

  4. I'm so glad you gave this a good review because I have really been wanting to read it, and other reviews are perhaps not so good. I'm going to selectively listen to yours. :)


    -Connie @ Constance Reader


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