Loved The Historian. Didn't love The Swan Thieves. Kostova is an intelligent writer, but this book lives and dies on characterization and first person narrative, and I didn't feel like the various narrators' voices were distinct enough. They all sounded like Kostova.In addition, the level of detail in Kate and Mary's narratives felt unrealistic to me. Kate's story is told to Marlowe over a couple of interviews, and her recollection of the details of things that happened years ago is superhuman. Likewise with Mary. She writes a kind of memoir for Marlowe to read, in a style that's too detail rich and, frankly, too coherent to be realistic. The prose works much better as a straightforward first-person narrative, without the trappings of the interview and the "recollection."The last thing that threw me out of the story is that Beatrice's story begins with a collection of her letters, which ostensibly came from Olivier's papers. But later in the story we get letters from her to other people, and letters to her from him and from other people, with no explanation as to how they came into his possession. Further, at one point Marlowe begins imagining her life after reading the letters, and those imaginings morph into Beatrice's actual story - with the unfortunate consequence that Beatrice's "real" story seems as much a product of Marlowe's imagination as her image is a product of Robert's.