Book Review : The Paper Swan

The Paper Swan

Author : Leylah Attar
Published By : Pitch73 Publishing
Year Published : 2015
Genre / Tags : Romance, Dark, Contemporary, New Adult, Suspense
Formats : Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
# of Pages : 390 pages (Paperback)


They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.
They lie.
For 21 days she held on.
But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death.
Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.

A haunting tale of passion, loss, and redemption, The Paper Swan is a darkly intense yet heartwarming love story, textured with grit, intrigue, and suspense. Please note: This is NOT a love triangle.

A full-length, standalone novel, intended for mature audiences due to violence, sex and language. Subject matter may be disturbing for some readers.


Note : I read this book some years ago, and this is a review comprised of compilations of my writings and thoughts at and around the time of reading. I’ve since re-read a small portion and feel pretty much the same, but my opinions might change upon a future re-read.

In romance novels you typically want the hero and heroine to get to know each other. To spend time together. But what if that romance novel is also a suspense thriller where the heroine is desperately trying to escape her captor, with all the heart-pumping tension one would expect of that scenario. And what if the terrifying captor is.. also the hero? This book was a mindscrew of the highest order and one of the first I’d read that tried this unlikely scenario. I wanted the heroine to get away, but I also wanted to know more about how on earth this pairing could ever end up together.

I don’t know how to review this book without coming off as a creep who reads a niche romance with a horrifying premise and is trolling everyone into reading it. But I LOVED this book. I cried. I told a friend about it, she read it, she cried. Now we’re both crying. It’s so good. It sounds bad though, and it’s NOT safe for young people (18+ over only) and I can’t justify my love for this problematica, but here we go.

The Paper Swan is a romance novel within a niche. More like a niche within a niche. Dark romance in the captivity genre. Contained within are scenes of the heroine going through various types of hardships, most of which the love interest is responsible for putting her through. This pair start off as enemies but somehow, against all massively bad odds, end up together.

The main character, Skye, comes from a rich and privileged family. She’s abducted by Damian, a guy who is trying to swindle her father. He tortures her, seemingly to extort money from her father.

But there is more to all this than meets the eye. Skye comes from an upper class background but she is haunted by childhood memories of her first real friend, and a maid who showed her more love than her actual family did. She was deprived emotionally for all that she is privileged to have physically. Ironically, the situation reverses in its own twisted way at the start of the story.

Damian is not just a swindler, he has had a horrific childhood compelling him to spend years stewing and seeking vengeance against this girl’s father for very personal reasons. Damian intends to hate her, needs to hate her, is fully expecting to in order to achieve a life-long goal. But as you can already guess, he’ll fail miserably since this is a romance after all.

I am kind of picky about romance but when certain very remote and unusual elements come together I fall in stupid insta-love.

  • Childhood flashbacks and developed back story.
  • A sense of time passing, adding depth and longevity to the relationship.
  • Good guys are not all good, bad guys are not all bad.
  • #EnemiesToLovers #HateToLove
  • Insurmountable odds against the couple.
  • Suspense/thriller elements that are high tension, with the heroine trying to escape/endure.
  • Tearjerking parts.
  • Shocking plot twist(s).
  • Epic groveling.
  • Multiple points of departure.

Kind of a tall order of random and hard-to-find things that I like, things that are challenging to pull off and more likely to end up in trainwreck madness. And yet.. I feel like this one was largely triumphant in suspending disbelief and winning me over.

I was left stupidly transfixed, watching in awe at how this lofty array could be accomplished with any amount of coherence or success. The author goes all-in and pulls it off with top shelf romance writing. Since reading The Paper Swan I have tried out a couple chapters of a variety of similar-sounding books and (without calling out any names) they’ve all fallen short or had some very schlocky writing and dialogue. The Paper Swan takes a risk by taking itself more seriously, and the risk paid off in spades for me. I think it would have been very easy to hate this book and in some universe similar to this I probably would, and the fact that I love it instead is kind of a little miracle.

I’m giving this book a 10. Usually save such ratings for literature but books that gave me the utmost fun factor also get that rating. As far as the several various romances I’ve read go, this resides among my favorites.

Overall Rating – 10/10

Why You Should Try It – If you can stomach the premise of a captivity romance. If you’re a die-hard fan of enemies to lovers and childhood friends to lovers. As someone who has disliked many New Adult Romance titles, I’m mystified by how deep my affection goes for this one.

Why You Might Not Like It – Damian does some things (or rather, a particular outrageous thing) that is thoroughly unforgivable. Not for the faint of heart, and resides in this strange realm of not to be taken too seriously yet having a more serious approach to writing than many in this genre. I definitely don’t recommend this one to just anyone.

The Paper Swan

Thanks so much for reading my review! Have you read The Paper Swan and have any thoughts on it? Are you interested in reading it? I appreciate your thoughts at any time.


5 thoughts on “Book Review : The Paper Swan

  1. This sounds like such a good book – its going on my TBR 🙂 I’m a sucker for an emotional enemies-to-lovers romance. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of it before. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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