Book Review: ”THE SWAN HOUSE” by Elizabeth Musser

Elizabeth Musser does a remarkable work telling the fictional story of her character, Mary Swan, living in Georgia in the 1960’s. The book is rich in historical information and paints a realistic picture of racism during the Civil Rights movement.

Mary Swan lives in an affluent area of the city. Her mother, who is a well known artist, dies in an airplane crash. As the book begins, Mary is educated but naïve. She is caring but self serving.

After tragedy comes, the reader follows as Mary tries to deal with the loss of a parent. With the encouragement of the family’s black housekeeper, Mary discovers a part of society she has never witnessed before and life takes on a more mature meaning; learning what compassion is.

She meets Carl, a black teenager, who understands everything she doesn’t about racism because he has lived under its burden all of his life. Mary grapples with white versus black as Carl invites her to his neighborhood and she in turn shows him part of hers.

In Carl’s neighborhood, she meets a white woman, Abigail, She hears of the love of Jesus in this poor neighborhood and watches that love in action.

Carl, Abigail, Rachel, and Trixie are all characters the author uses brilliantly to help Mary uncover some secrets about her mother.

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