A Warning About Swans
Swan Lake meets The Last Unicorn by way of the Brothers Grimm in a dreamy, original fairytale by critically acclaimed author R.M. Romero.
Bavaria. 1880. Hilde was dreamed into existence by the god Odin and, along with her five sisters, granted cloaks that transform them into swans. Each sister’s cloak is imbued with a unique gift, but Hilde rejects her gift which allows her to lead the souls of dying creatures to the afterlife.
While guiding the soul of a hawk, Hilde meets the handsome Baron Maximilian von Richter, whose father left him no inheritance. Hilde is intrigued by Richter’s longing for a greater life and strikes a deal with him: She will manifest his dreams of riches, and in return, he will take her to the human world, where the song of souls can’t reach her.
But at the court of King Ludwig II in Munich, Hilde struggles to fit in. After learning that fashionable ladies are sitting for portraits, she hires non-binary Jewish artist Franz Mendelson, and is stunned when Franz renders her with swan wings. The more time she spends with Franz, the more she feels drawn to the artist’s warm, understanding nature, and the more controlling Richter becomes. When Hilde’s swan cloak suddenly goes missing, only Franz’s ability to paint the true nature of souls can help Hilde escape her newfound prison.
R.M. Romero is a Jewish Latina and author of fairy tales for children and adults. She lives in Miami Beach with her cat, Henry VIII, and spends her summers helping to maintain Jewish cemeteries in Poland.
"The story smoothly melds contemporary understandings of gender equality, exploration, and representation with fairy tale–like ambiance and language, making for a gratifying read"—Publishers Weekly
"Filled with romance and betrayal, enchantment and the natural world, this will appeal to fairy-tale lovers everywhere."—Booklist
"Fairy tales and myths form a seamless whole in R. M. Romero’s fantasy novel A Warning about Swans. . . . Echoes of Swan Lake and folktales about animal bride transformations infuse the story with folklore. Written in prose poetry, it leaps across the page in italics and indentations, mimicking the flights of Hilde and her sisters. . . . Grounded in history and myths, A Warning about Swans is a dreamy, eloquent fairy tale with timeless reflections on love, duty, and betrayal."—Foreword Reviews
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