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There’s something about Atlanta every resident knows: it is filled with history and elegance despite the sweltering summer heat this time of year. The past, both the good and bad, reveal a beautiful city, filled with courageous everyday citizens who have boldly faced down racism and prejudice.
The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser is a look into Atlanta through the eyes of a sixteen-year-old debutant, beginning in 1962 right as the civil rights movement was taking hold. Born into a wealthy family living in prestigious Buckhead, Mary Swan Middleton, is sheltered, privileged, and about to confront death, mystery, the pure evil of racism, and ultimately God’s forgiveness.
For those familiar with Atlanta, the book brings iconic sites to life. Oakland Cemetery, The Varsity, High Museum of Art, the flying pink pig, and the home the book is named for, the Swan House. (The Swan House was also the site of the capitol in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Just a bit of trivia!) If you have never been to Atlanta, you will want to visit after reading this gem.
Published by Bethany House, it is Christian fiction. It is nice to read a book that does not side-step the truth of racism or avoid the power of God in a believer’s life. I laughed, cried, and thoroughly enjoyed reading The Swan House. I highly recommend it for a great summer read, even for teens who may be studying the Civil Rights era in the fall.
My only criticism, if it can be called that, is the book’s length at 443+ pages. While I cannot truthfully point out any one section that should have been left out, the book would have benefited from some condensing.
Elizabeth Musser is a new author to me and I hope to read more of her work in the future. In fact, there is a sequel to The Swan House: Dwelling Place . It’s on my summer reading list! It was truly a great find when I purchased The Swan House at a used book sale back in May. By the way, I was not asked to write this review, just sharing a good book, in my opinion, with you.
I’ve included links above to many of the historic sites mentioned in the book in case you would like to learn more.