Elizabeth Kostova's second novel will delight some readers and disappoint others. Though she explores love, travels through time and place, and provides a satisfying mystery, these similarities to The Historian do not conceal the reality that The Swan Thieves is quite a different novel. I was completely satisfied by the story and happy I did not need to wait any longer for it. At the same time, a lack of depth and some structural problems made me wonder if she felt rushed. After all, she took ten years to write The Historian and only four to write The Swan Thieves.
In a letter to readers on her website, Kostova tells us that her book is about obsession, painting and love. On the surface that's true, but there's much more going on in this story. Robert Oliver is obsessed with painting, with a mysterious woman and with himself. He is the type of male genius who is dangerous to women...
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