Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling


General Fiction Review    

The Swan House
By Elizabeth Musser
Bethany House, 2001
ISBN: 0-7642-2508-1



In The Swan House, Elizabeth Musser takes the Orly plane crash of June 1962 as the subject for her fourth novel.

Mary Swan Middleton, whose middle name was taken from the neighboring Atlanta landmark the Swan House, lives a privileged life. Her parents, a stock-broker and an artist, both come from wealthy families. Mary and her younger brother, Jimmy, attend private schools where they excel academically.  Like their grandparents and parents, every Sunday they attend the Episcopal Church followed by lunch at their country club.

When Mary's mother, on an arts tour filled with prominent Atlantans, is killed in an airplane crash, the fifteen year old doesn't find comfort in any of the activities that once brought her pleasure. The family's maid, Ella Mae, recognizing the young woman's grief and depression, invites her to the inner city to work in her church's community outreach program. As her grief lifts, Mary begins to recognize the class differences that exist between her family and friends in Buckhead and Ella Mae's brethren in downtown Atlanta.

The Swan House is equal parts coming of age novel, mystery, and Christian fiction. Elizabeth Musser has used facts to create a book full of reconciliation and hope.

An Atlanta native, Elizabeth Goldsmith Musser attended The Westminster Schools and then earned her B.A. in English and French at Vanderbilt University. Since 1989, the author and her husband, Paul, have lived in Montpellier, France where he serves on the pastoral team of a small Protestant Church. They have two sons. Musser's earlier novels, Two Crosses, Two Testaments, and Two Destinies, comprise a trilogy set during the Algerian War for independence from France.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

2002 Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved