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review 2019-02-20 02:01
Brief Thoughts: The Ebony Swan
The Ebony Swan - Phyllis A. Whitney

The Ebony Swan

by Phyllis A. Whitney

 

 

Susan Prentice is a woman alone.  In the past six months her father has died, she has called off her engagement to a cynical young doctor she no longer loves, and she has begun to question the ethics of the medical profession of which she is a member.

Now at a crossroads in her life, Susan decides to make contact with her maternal grandmother whom her father had forbidden her to see since Susan's mother's death from a tragic fall almost twenty-five years earlier.

There are so many questions she wants to ask--about her mother and her own dimly remembered childhood on Virginia's eastern shore.  Susan is also determined to get acquainted with her grandmother, a reputedly difficult woman, on her own terms.

Traveling across the country to the lush Southern land of her birth, Susan has no way of knowing that her entire life is about to change irrevocably.  Once there she discovers that her mother's death may not have been an accident and that her return has caused anxiety among people who fear what may lie dormant in Susan's memory.



Just as Murder by Death noted, this story is a slow trudge, with parts that dragged throughout.  There were moments when I just wanted the plot to get on with it.  However, the mystery itself is quite intriguing and the writing is excellent.  The characters are pretty one-dimensional, and I found I didn't really care for them one way or another--didn't like them, didn't hate them.

There were some thought-provoking anecdotes, even if the whole "white swan, black swan" thing felt a bit trite.  In the end, the book DID end up grabbing my attention and keeping it without me making too much of a fuss over any frustrations.  Truly, the only complaint I have is the slow pacing of the story's unfolding, but otherwise, this was enjoyable and entertaining enough to please me.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/brief-thoughts-ebony-swan.html
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review 2018-12-11 09:35
The Ebony Swan
The Ebony Swan - Phyllis A. Whitney

If reviews came with musical accompaniment, you'd be hearing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah as you read this.  I've finally finished this book.

 

There's a combination of factors involved in the blame for my incredibly slow progress: I'm in a slump, and therefore easily distracted by anything right now - it doesn't even have to be shiny; life has been busy and when I did sit down to read, interruptions abounded; this is not Whitney's best work.  By a long shot.

 

Susan's father took her away from her grandmother's home and cut off all contact, after the death of her mother under mysterious circumstances.  Susan was the only witness and at 5, suppressed the memories.  Now her father's dead, she's an adult, and she's returning to her grandmother's home in Virginia to get to know her and figure out why she can't remember her own mother.  But grandma has a trunk-load of secrets she's less than enthusiastic about sharing, and nobody else seems to want Susan to come back at all. 

 

This is one of Whitney's later books, written in the 80's, and she's still got her magic touch when it comes to atmosphere, setting, and characters.  But the story dragged... the pacing was continental drift slow, and there was so much time spent in the heads of the characters, it was a challenge to keep myself engaged.  And when everything came together with a solution/ending that was twisted in that way in which Whitney excelled (this is an author who really understood long-simmering anger and epic grudges), I was so ...exhausted by the slow pacing that I just couldn't feel the punch I should have. 

 

It's good, it's even a bit haunting, but you have to really be patient with it, and in the midst of a slump, patience is thin on the ground.

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text 2018-09-14 17:31
Things found in books
The Ebony Swan - Phyllis A. Whitney

I love finding things people leave in books but this is the first time I've found something that I left in a book almost 30 years ago!  

 

 

I am sick so I decided to stay in my pajamas and rest in bed.  I had pulled out this book to read next because I was sure it was the book I'd had the longest.  It is also a hardcover book and they take up too much room in my shelves.  I started reading it and came across a piece of paper printed in red that looked like a $5 bill.  They were called Safety Bucks.  It is from my first job as a teen which I got when I was 17.  I think this was from 1989 when I was 18.  I really didn't remember much about these but my husband just said they could be used to buy things at the hotel.  I think they were earned for not being injured on the job for a certain length of time.  

 

 

This is the time when I met my husband (he worked there too) and in September 1st, 1991 we were married.  

 

 

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