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Review of 'Nemesis and the Swan'

by Cyn's Workshop 2 years ago in literature

Nemesis and the Swan follows Hélène d’Aubign in revolutionary Paris as she reconciles who she was with who she wants to be in a country on the verge of change.


From her prison cell in revolutionary Paris, nineteen-year-old aristocrat Hélène d'Aubign recalls the events that led her to choose between following in her parents' unforgivable footsteps or abandoning the man she loves.

Despite her world of privilege, Hélène is inspired early on by the radical ideas of her progressive governess. Though her family tries to intervene, the seeds of revolution have already been planted in Hélène's heart, as are the seeds of love from an unlikely friendship with a young jeweler's apprentice. Hélène's determination to find true love is as revolutionary as her attempt to unravel the truth behind a chilling set of eye-shaped brooches and the concealed murder that tore her family apart.

As violence erupts in Paris, Hélène is forced into hiding with her estranged family, where the tangled secrets of their past become entwined with her own. When she finally returns to the blood-stained streets of Paris, she finds everything-and everyone-very much changed. In a city where alliances shift overnight, no one knows who to trust.

Faced with looming war, the mystery of her family's past, and the man she loves near death, Hélène will soon will find out if doing one wrong thing will make everything right, or if it will simply push her closer to the guillotine.


Nemesis and the Swan takes place in revolutionary Paris and follows Hélène d'Aubign as she recounts the events that got her locked up in the prison cell where she faces the dreaded guillotine.

Admittedly, the opening of this novel, the pacing, it failed to capture this reader’s attention. However, as the story progressed, it became an engaging look at revolutionary Paris.

Each chapter opens with Hélène in her prison cell counting down the days while she recounts her life, trying to figure out what got her there. As a character-driven narrative, Nemesis and the Swan is written with compelling prose to lure the reader into the story.

A character-driven story, the reader, follows Hélène through time, highlighting her strength and perseverance to change the direction of her life. As the daughter of the Marquis, Hélène is a part of the aristocracy that the revolution saw to destroying. It examines the revolution through the eyes of an innocent, and any ready fascinated with the French revolution will be engaged with this story. It examines the life of the aristocracy, highlighting how many of them were innocent while also highlighting the need for change.

Following Hélène on her journey is also quite engaging. While the reader follows her through time and sees the revolution through her eyes, they see how she struggles to reconcile her identity with whom she wants to be with her upbringing. Hélène wants to be more, she welcomes the change, recognizing the need for it, but there are so many secrets of her past she also seeks to unravel. It is a compelling journey for her as she tries to find herself.

Nemesis and the Swan is a compelling novel that will relate to readers, those who seek not only to change society but also readers who are trying to decipher their pasts to be their true selves.


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About the Author

Cynthia Bujnicki graduated from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She has always loved to read since she was a child. A contributing writer for YA Fantasy Addicts, she is also the Editor-in-Chief for Cyn's Workshop. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband and son and their two cats, Mr. J the Kitten and Nyx.


Cyn's Workshop

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