**DISCLAIMER: This book was sent to me by Open Book Publishers in exchange for an honest review.**
Since she was a child, Lillian Connelley has been raised to love trumpeter swans and she is determined to protect them at all costs from a vicious hunter who is killing them.
As a birthday wish come true, Lilly’s family take her to visit Cattail Marsh on her 11th birthday to see the newly hatched cygnets. Tragic events unfold when the murderous hunter, Dean Drake, shows up and shoots the swans and Lilly’s parents – killing the swans, her father, and injuring her mother. She watched as Drake shot them all and seeks justice for all of his crimes.
Lilly tells The Sheriff, Charlie West, the truth about the events that took place and tells him that Drake was the one that did it. But nobody believes her story and they all think she is trying to make sense of a senseless accident.
The Swan Keeper is beautifully written and it became inspiring to read as Lilly fought against all the odds to get justice for her father and the swans. She is a strong protagonist, especially for only being 11-years-old, and her courage and zest for life shine through the pages. The shift in her behaviour and personality post-tragedy is so evident that it is heart-wrenching as a reader to feel the pain she is experiencing from such a tremendous loss at such a young age.
Dean Drake makes a brilliant villain. He’s creepy, nasty, and bloodthirsty and will do anything to keep his secrets from being revealed. At every twist and turn, he’s watching Lilly and her family and determined to stop the girl from ever getting justice for the murder of her father and the swans. He inserts himself into the family’s lives and convinces her mother, sister, and friends that he just wants to help them. He was an easy character to hate and be angry with, and that’s what made him a great character. I was always rooting for Lilly to take him down.
The setting of the book, the Mission Valley Mountains in Montana, was brought to life in the most exquisite way and as a reader, you feel like you are there while you’re reading the book. You can almost feel the crispness of the air on a winters morning. Marsenich truly has a gift for storytelling.
Whilst it is a great read, The Swan Keeper didn’t capture my attention as much as her debut novel, Copper Sky did. I can’t quite explain why either. It could be that I began reading it during a time when I wasn’t as dedicated to reading and found it easy to put the book down. This obviously isn’t a fault of the books, but it’s worth mentioning as it changed my overall rating of it.
For that reason, I give The Swan Keeper a rating of 4/5. Everything was written so beautifully and in such depth that it brought the scenery and characters to life. However, it didn’t capture my attention as much as I’d hoped it would and it lost a point for that. I do highly recommend you give it a read if you’re interested in historical fiction.
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