The Swan Keeper was a book that really surprised me, and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. Set in the late 1920s in a small community in Northern Montana, it focuses on 11 year old Lillian Connelly, her family, and the trumpeter swans that she has vowed to protect.
Lillian’s father has discovered that Dean Drake, a local hunter, has been illegally hunting the trumpeter swans, but without sufficient evidence, there is nothing the local sheriff can do. While celebrating her birthday, tragedy strikes, with Lillian as the only witness. She immediately points the finger at the culprit, Dean Drake, but given their past and her age, she is left wanting in her search for justice. It is then she decides to take matters into her own hands in order to prove who the real Dean Drake is.
I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did, but the author certainly has a way with words. This is a beautifully written story, and while the author admits she has taken liberties with the geography, I felt myself completely immersed in the landscape described, so much so that it felt like the landscape itself was a secondary character to Lillian.
This is a cat and mouse tale at its finest. The battle between Lillian and Dean was extremely entertaining and it was hard to see what was going to come next. There is also an added element of mysticism here, coupled with some Native American references, that bring another side to an already entertaining story.
Overall a great read, and an author I will be keeping my eye on, as should you.