The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich – BOOK REVIEW

38336382Title & Author: The Swan Keeper, Milana Marsenich
Publication Date & Publisher: April 2018, Open Books
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, General (Adult) Fiction
Length: 245 pages
ISBN: 9781948598033
My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

Girlhood, courage, nature, and flight from a tyrant’s hand in post-frontier Montana.

The Swan Keeper is an historical, coming of age novel set in Northwest Montana’s Mission Valley in the late 1920s.

Lillian Connelly loves trumpeter swans and vows to protect them from a hunter who is killing them and leaving their carcasses for the wolves and coyotes to ravage.

On her eleventh birthday Lilly’s family visits the Cattail Marsh to see the newly hatched cygnets. The family outing turns tragic when Dean Drake shows up with his shotgun and fires on not only the swans, but on Lilly’s family. Unable to prevent tragedy, Lillian witnesses Drake kill her father, injure her mother, and slaughter the bevy of trumpeter swans.

The sheriff, Charlie West, thinks that Lilly is reacting to the trauma and blaming Drake because of a previous conflict between Drake and her father. Lilly’s mother, sister, and her best friend, Jerome West, the sheriff’s son, all think the same thing: that Lilly is trying to make sense of a senseless accident.

Left alone to bring Dean Drake to justice, Lilly’s effort is subverted when Drake woos her sister, courts her mother, and moves into their home.

My review: 

This book really surprised me!

I loved the way it started out:

Lilly told three lies to go with her father one stormy afternoon when she was ten, the afternoon that she first learned about the swan killer. She said she’d done her chores, she forgave Pa for fighting with her mother, and she wasn’t afraid.

I’m not sure what it is with me picking books featuring liars lately, but I seem to be addicted to them. (Lies that Bind Us, All That’s Left of Me, The Irrationalist, Truth Seer)

It turns out that Lilly is good not just at telling lies, but she can also tell when others are lying – her mom, dad, sister, her mortal enemy – Dean Drake… but it doesn’t seem to occur to her that they must know when she’s lying too. She’s growing up, but even with her “tiny” lies, there’s still so much innocence left in her – even after her father is killed.

So much is thrown at her, and yet she faces every challenge in her life head on. I love her stubbornness and her deep drive to see justice carried out even when it means putting herself in danger! Being someone who loves children deeply, I connected with Lilly on such a deep level that my husband had to remind me that she wasn’t a real child… twice!

(I just wanted to be able to hug her, let her know I was there for her, and that everything was going to be okay. That’s totally normal when we’re talking about a fictional character…)

The Swan Keeper is divided into four parts – White Swan, Dark Swan, In Flight, and Landing. In each section Lilly changes and grows spiritually and emotionally. True to life, she’s not the same person at 10 as she is as a 12 year old at the end of the book. But her journey is FAR crazier than what most preteens experience.

And amid all the craziness happening around her, she’s experiencing her first crush on a boy. She’s known Jerome West her entire life, but suddenly he’s becoming something else to her entirely and she has no idea what to do with those emotions. I found Lilly’s interactions with Jerome as her feelings for him started changing absolutely adorable!

Just when I thought I couldn’t love Lilly anymore, I think I may have found a new favorite bookish quote from her in this book as well…

Books were full of information. She’d learned to consult books and thank God. It was a good system.

Read that and pretty much screamed in my brain, “Me too, Lilly!  Me too!!!” (Again, it’s totally normal to have imaginary conversations with fictional characters… Stop judging me!!!)

As much as I ended up loving this book, I wasn’t so sure about The Swan Keeper when I first started reading it.  There were a couple of pages before the first chapter that I assumed was a prologue. It didn’t make sense to me until the end of the book, when I realized it was basically excerpts from the last part. I really wish I had just skipped it and gone straight to Chapter 1… if you pick it up, I suggest you do the same!

My only other complaint is that there are a couple of times where people speak and it doesn’t seem completely normal to me. For instance, a character that uses the word “‘specially” for “especially” would use “isn’t” instead of “is not.” That might not throw other readers, but things like that stick out to me and drive me batty if it happens too often. Thankfully, it only happened a couple of times in this book so it wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

I received a review copy of this book from the author. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of my review of The Swan Keeper? Have you read it or are you planning on reading it in the future? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!

Planning on purchasing The Swan Keeper? Please use my affiliate links: Amazon, Book Depository

 

 

WWW Wednesday -September 5, 2018

img_1384-0Hello everyone! It’s time once again for WWW Wednesday ! Even more exciting… it’s the First WWW Wednesday for September!!

Since so much sickness hit my home (and me in particular) over the last couple of months, I’m really looking forward to a healthy September!!!  I could totally complain for a whole post, but let’s not get distracted…

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

Don’t know what WWW Wendesday is or how to participate??? All you need to do is answer the following three questions and link back to Taking on a World of Words, or you can put your answers in the comments on her blog! (You can also leave your link in my comments to be sure I don’t miss your post!)

The three WWW questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

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I just started reading The Sun King by Allison Lee Palmer last night so I don’t have much to say about it yet… Don’t worry, we all know that won’t last long!

 

 

 

 

I recently finished:

Unfortunately, being sick the last couple of weeks didn’t mean I got to lay around and read. Instead, I laid in my bed surrounded by books I couldn’t read. It really sucked! I did manage to finish up a couple of books though…

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The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich started out kinda slow for me. Once I was past about the first chapter though, I had a hard time putting it down! My review will up soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This may be one of favorite Christian reads of 2018 so far! I love the way it explores the difference in going through life as a pilgrim instead of as an exile. Review should be up next week!

 

 

 

 

What I’ll be reading next:

 

What’s your WWW? Any thoughts on the books above?  Leave a comment or send me a message through the Contact Me page.

Want to support my laziness??? Feel free to leave a link to your own WWW Wednesday post in case I miss it over on Taking on a World of Words. (The link list is long over there guys, and I’ve got a lot of books to read…)

WWW Wednesday -August 22, 2018

img_1384-0Hello everyone! I’ve missed the last couple of weeks, but I’m finally posting my second WWW Wednesday in August!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

Don’t know what WWW Wendesday is or how to participate??? All you need to do is answer the following three questions and link back to Taking on a World of Words, or you can put your answers in the comments on her blog! (You can also leave your link in my comments to be sure I don’t miss your post!)

The three WWW questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

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I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich at first, but by the end of the first chapter, I was hooked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve been reading Born to Wander by Michelle Van Loon with my husband. It’s really interesting and has led to some great discussions!

 

 

 

 

 

I recently finished:

I may have missed the last couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t carve out some reading time…

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I absolutely loved Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky and I’ll be sharing my review soon!

 

 

 

 

 

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Edge of the Known Bus Line by James R. Gapinski was a super quick read that gave me chills!

 

 

 

 

 

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For some crazy reason, I decided to start reading classics that I either never got around to or just discovered…Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson was not a good one to start with! I was pretty disappointed and upset that it was recommended to me.

 

 

 

 

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Their Houses by Meredith Sue Willis is another book I recently finished that I fell in love with. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I got to the end and can’t wait to share the review with you all!

 

 

What I’ll be reading next:

the_sun_king_by_allison_lee_palmer_200 

 

What’s your WWW? Any thoughts on the books above?  Leave a comment or send me a message through the Contact Me page.

Want to support my laziness??? Feel free to leave a link to your own WWW Wednesday post in case I miss it over on Taking on a World of Words. (The link list is long over there guys, and I’ve got a lot of books to read…)