The Ebony Swan-Phyllis Whitney


Susan Prentice experiences horrible trauma as a child when she witnesses the death of her mother, Dolores, and then is taken from her grandparent’s home in Virginia after this occurs.  Susan returns to Virginia 25 years later to find closure, uncovers some family secrets and deals with hostility from those who don’t want these secrets to be revealed.

The Ebony Swan is enjoyable.  The author has a talent for description, and the setting, Virginia and Tangier, one of the islands off the coast of Virginia, is beautiful.  As is usually the case with Phyllis Whitney’s books, The Ebony Swan is worth reading for the gorgeous settings alone.  However, the plot and characters are well done also.  The idea of someone returning to their childhood home in an attempt to sort things out is a good theme.

I like Susan; she is an interesting character looking for answers.  I like how Susan reconnects with Peter Macklin, who she hasn’t seen since she left Virginia as a child.  I didn’t like Alex (Alexandrina) Montoro (Susan’s grandmother) at first but I began to understand her better later in the book.  She is looking for answers too, and she is a strong if somewhat disagreeable character.  I didn’t like Theresa Montoro, Alex’s niece, but unlikable characters are necessary for conflict.  There are enough characters with secrets that the true villain isn’t really obvious.  Susan and Peter’s relationship isn’t explored in great depth, and the ending is somewhat anticlimactic, but this doesn’t detract from the overall good story.  I recommend The Ebony Swan, especially for those who like books with exotic settings.