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The Four Swans by Winston Graham
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The Four Swans (1976)

by Winston Graham

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In general, I am very reluctant to take on a series read. What often happens is that you begin the series with great expectations and as it progresses, the writer gets lazy, runs out of storyline, or loses touch with his characters...like a tv series that is on its last leg and is just inventing a reason to continue. THIS IS NOT THE CASE with Winston Graham. He is such a skillful and thoughtful writer that he never gives us an inconsistency in the character that cannot be explained or that is foreign to what he has already told us about them; he finds new plot twists that are in total keeping with the realities of life and seem brilliantly surprising; and he adds new characters when they make sense and has them interact with the old characters without overshadowing them. Everything is so seamless that you cannot believe he did not envision this story in its entirety from the first written line.

I guess it is obvious that I am a fan. The Four Swans is one of the best books in this series, but then I say that about each one as I close it, because this series is always building momentum. It cannot be read in anything other than chronological order and it is twelve books total. So, it is an investment, but oh my does it pay dividends.

Ross and Demelza Poldark are so real to me that I feel I know them intimately, but along with my attachment to the Poldarks themselves, Graham has given us the perfect foil in George Warleggan, a second villain who, for me, defines evil and makes me appreciate that George isn’t quite the bottom of the sludge of life barrel. Elizabeth, whose beauty might be stunning but whose soul needs a little work, epitomizes the woman who has it all and then finds that it is nothing. Dr. Dwight Enys, with whom I am hopelessly enamored, the good man but not the perfect one, and his spirited and witty Caroline; Morweena, Drake and Geoffrey Charles, Sam and Emma, and Hugh Armitage, who managed to break my heart and show me that a sad heart is large enough to include more than one love.

I must say that the joy of reading these books has been increased tenfold by the sharing of it with the wonderful ladies of the RFP group. I sat up way past my bedtime to finish this novel, because I knew that putting it down would ensure that I got no sleep in any case. So, I am on to the next volume and hopes that Mr. Graham can sustain this wonderful ride for me until we reach the farthest shore.
( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
Struggling with the dark turn this series has taken. All the reviews I'm reading with women gushing how "romantic" it is - seriously?? You're okay with the main character being a rapist and now the local vicar not only being a rapist but a pervert and child molester?? Huh. I suspect you also gobbled up the Fifty Shades trilogy as 'literature' and went in droves to see the smutty film adaptation 🤦‍♀️ ( )
  knp4597 | Mar 19, 2018 |
Not for the first time he was conscious of emotional lights and shades in his wife that could not be categorized, could not be named as sensuous or emotional as such, perhaps derived from each and gave to each but in essence grew out of a deeper fund of temperament that he still could not altogether apprehend. The simple miner's daughter was not simple in character at all.
― Winston Graham, The Four Swans

Book #6 in the Poldark saga proves to be just as well written and entertaining as the previous five novels. I almost deducted a star due to the path the author chose for one character. It just didn't seem right; I don't think it would be in the character's nature. Then I thought the author knew the characters better than I do, so who am I to judge? ( )
  Lisa805 | Feb 25, 2018 |
The focus of this Poldark entry is on the four women in Ross's life, Demelza, Elizabeth, Caroline, and Morwenna. Morwenna has been married off to the despicable Osbourne Whitworth despite her love for Demelza's brother Drake, and the marriage is even more unhappy than we could have anticipated. Demelza acquires a young admirer, Hugh, a young naval officer, much to Ross's dismay. Caroline and Dwight are working through issues in their marriage resulting from his need for serious work and her need for leisure. Elizabeth continues to blind herself to the machinations of George Warleggan, as he nurtures his suspicions about Valentine's parentage.

4 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Dec 18, 2017 |
Excellent story! Kept me up late night turning pages. ( )
  meacoleman | Dec 4, 2017 |
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'Whitworth,' Ross said. 'Do you find him an agreeable fellow?'

'He's seldom about when I call.'
'I have always wanted to throw him in some stinking pond.'
Caroline said: 'I admire you for your subtlety, Ross. What has the poor man done to deserve such dislike?'
'Except that he used at one time to come sniffing round Demelza, very little to me personally, but--'
'Well, I trust you don't dislike every man who takes a fancy to Demelza, or you would be hard pressed to find a friend!'
'Sniffing,' said Demelza. 'I don't recollect him sniffing. It was the way his tail wagged I didn't greatly care for.'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330344994, Paperback)

Ross seems secure in his hard won prosperity, but a new dilemma faces him in the sudden infatuation of a young naval officer for his wife Demelza. For Demelza, Elizabeth, Caroline, and Morwenna, there are times of stress and conflict ahead.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:27 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The sixth book in the legendary Poldark saga Cornwall, 1795: Although Ross Poldark - now something of a war hero - seems secure in his hardwon prosperity, a new dilemma faces him in the sudden infatuation of a young naval officer for his wife Demelza. All four women - the four swans - whose lives touch Ross' face a crisis in these years. For his wife Demelza, his old love Elizabeth, for his friend's new wife Caroline and for the unhappy Morwenna Chynoweth, these are times of stress and conflict.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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