Two Wild Swans is an engrossing story that takes place during World War I in Europe. Ursula, or Uschi, is a student at University in Munich, studying psychiatry in order to help her brother, Albert, who has returned from the war in a childlike state. She is engaged to be married to a rich pilot who is away fighting. She meets people at school who lead her to more Bohemian lifestyle as a model in art classes. There she meets Julio, a Catalan musician exiled from Barcelona for murder. She and Julio fall in love and she breaks off her engagement. The rest of the book deals with their marriage and the diverse group of friends that they have made. There are graphic scenes of battle as the war touches their lives more closely and the story follows history in a very detailed yet engaging tale.
Uschi is young, eighteen years old, and lovely. I liked her very much. She misuses words occasionally trying to sound older than she is, a quirk I found charming. She is practical - she works as a nurse with wounded soldiers - and resourceful. Julio is the quintessential hero with his soulful eyes and dark curl of hair falling on his forehead. He misses Barcelona and his family dreadfully, but makes a live with Uschi despite it all.
The book is very well-written with quirky and wonderful characters that I found extremely interesting. The references to art and music of the period were perfect, not so much that you felt them textbook-like, but inserted at appropriate intervals. It was fun to look some of them up to learn more. There were a few typos and the formatting of my copy needed page breaks before each chapter, but this did not take away from this wonderful story. I highly recommend Two Wild Swans and will look for more from this author.
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