The Swan Maiden

Written by Susan King
Review by Sarah Cuthbertson

Highland Juliana, her castle under English attack, is saved by handsome, loyalty-torn Anglo-Scot Sir Gawain. He lets her go and she becomes the mysterious Swan Maiden in a rebel band. Soon she’s captured and Edward I half-jestingly marries her to the disgraced Gawain who, to redeem his honor, must return her, swan-garbed, to Scotland and force her to swear allegiance to England as an example to the revolting Scots.

Though it starts off well with the storming of the castle and Juliana’s rescue, the subsequent plot fails to generate enough drama for a page-turner. Most of the characters are too nice to each other: hero and heroine don’t strike sparks, and the villains are rather half-hearted. There was disappointingly little sense of place or period. But Ms King’s style flows pleasantly, and the sex scenes are handled with subtlety. A comfortable rather than an exciting read.