Dwelling Place (Swan House) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

The Dwelling Place (The Swan House Series #2) Paperback

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$21.25 $12.18
"Please retry"
$36.28 $3.02


Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764229265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764229268
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this enjoyable, somewhat complicated sequel to The Swan House, Musser continues the tragedy-scarred story of artist Mary Swan Middleton through the first-person narrative of her troubled daughter, Ellie. Ellie grows up full of rage toward her mother, whom she holds responsible for a childhood accident that left her disfigured. Her rebellion causes her to battle various addictions, and the story opens with the fresh-out-of-rehab, overweight and unhappy Ellie conflicted about her family and her future. Mary Swan has recently undergone a double mastectomy, and her illness affords opportunities for her and Ellie to work on their relationship. Ellie begins rethinking the way she sees herself, her family and God. In a lovely piece of wisdom, Ellie muses, "Sometimes the breaking of things is cruel, and sometimes it is necessary, and sometimes it is just an accident." This is the novel's central message, and the faith themes that frame the story ensure that most of the "broken pieces" mend through redemption. Although Musser handles many symbolic moments well, she sometimes overexplains when subtlety might have been more welcome. Readers will need to work hard to keep track of the many characters, especially given the number of flashbacks and backstory narratives. However, Musser's solid prose, careful historical details and themes of hope and forgiveness make this an attractive choice for faith fiction readers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Ellie's faith journey is realistic and heartwarming... The Dwelling Place is true-to-life and should appeal to readers." -- Bookloons

"Musser displays a gift for complex characterization and intricate plotting that reveals flaws as well as beauties in human nature." -- RT Bookclub

"Musser displays a rare gift for complex characterization and intricate plotting that starkly reveals flaws & beauties in human nature." -- Romantic Times, April 2005

"The characterizations make you care and cry, and the research makes the book that much more fascinating and personal." -- Armchair Interviews

"This is one book that you cannot put down." -- The Romance Readers Connection

More About the Author

Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls 'entertainment with a soul.' Elizabeth attended The Westminster Schools in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where she majored in French and English literature, graduated magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

Her novels have been acclaimed in the United States and in Europe. The Swan House (Bethany House, c2001), set in Atlanta in the early sixties, was named as one of Amazon's Top Christian Books of the Year (2001), was an ABA and SEBA bestseller and was recently named one of Georgia's Top Ten Novels of the past 100 years, right behind Gone with the Wind (from Georgia Backroads, Autumn, 2009). The Secrets of the Cross trilogy (David C Cook, 2012), which takes place during Algeria's War for Independence from France and also in present day Algeria and France, (Two Crosses, Two Testaments, Two Destinies) has been a bestseller in Europe. Two Destinies was recently nominated for the Christy Award, for excellence in Christian fiction. Elizabeth's other novels The Dwelling Place, (Bethany House, c2005), Searching for Eternity (Bethany House, c2007), Words Unspoken (Bethany House, c2009), and The Sweetest Thing (Bethany House, 2011) all set in the South in the 1930s-1980s, continue to examine themes of brokenness and healing, faith and forgiveness, surrender and sacrifice.

Elizabeth's books have been translated into German, French, Dutch and Norwegian.

From an interview with Publisher's Weekly, "Elizabeth Musser likes to say she has two part-time jobs. Not only is she an award-winning novelist, but she and her husband serve as missionaries at a small Protestant church in Lyon, France. In both lines of work, she avoids preaching and simplistic answers, choosing instead to portray a God who cares in the midst of life's complexity..."

Elizabeth adds, "My desire is to offer the best literature I can write, drawing the reader into a story that is compelling, believable and sprinkled with historical detail. I seek to give a realistic picture of what faith lived out in this world looks like, and, as always, I hope that my stories can be appreciated by all audiences, not just those readers who hold my same religious beliefs. It is a delight to receive confirmation of this through reader letters."

For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams. They presently live in Lyon, France. The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and the cutest grandson in the world, of course.

To learn more about Elizabeth and her books, please visit her website at www.elizabethmusser.com and her Facebook Fan Page

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 23 customer reviews
Historically accurate and captivating!
Donna Clark
Love is always there, we just need to know where to look.
Mark Edens
I could see the beautiful places and smell the flowers.
Bel Tucker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Trisha E. Lisk on April 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
You have to read Swan House first. It's an excellent book. It's a big story extremely well-told. I didn't know until I started reading this book, The Dwelling Place, that it is a sequel to Swan House. And I liked it so much I read it clean through twice in one week! It is a complicated story, exquisitely told. You can have the best story line in the world; and the most engaging characters in the world; but if you can't tell the story, if the story doesn't flow as effortlessly as a mighty river, it won't matter. This one does. It brought me to tears over and over and over again. I don't believe in customer reviews telling what the story is about. The publishers and editors have done that. I think readers should shine light on their personal response to what they've read. I am an absolutely voracious reader and have only in the last 6 months begun to read Christian fiction. I had no idea there was so much, or that I'd find the quality that I've found. This one is in my top ten. I noticed that Swan House was published, I believe in 2003? And this book was published in 2005? Good grief, Charlie Brown, does that mean I've got to wait a hole 'nother TWO YEARS before I get to read another Elizabeth Musser story? Oh dear.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Grant on September 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Dwelling Place is a terrific read, whether or not you've read The Swan House. It's a great stand-alone story of a young woman (Ellie) who doesn't seem to fit into her "perfect" family, and her journey to get to know them, and herself. If you have read The Swan House, however, it's intriguing to see those returning characters from a different angle-from Ellie's point of view. There is a gap of several decades between the two stories, and there are a number of mysteries as to how events unfolded in that time period. Why do Carl Matthews and Mary Swan (and their respective spouses) now have such a strained relationship? How did Ellie's face get disfigured, and was it truly Mary Swan's fault, as Ellie believes? What happened on Rachel and Mary Swan's trip to Europe as young women that shaped their lives forever? As Ellie digs for the answers to these questions, you are caught up in the events of Ellie's life in the present, and of the story of the Bartholomew family from the tumultuous sixties to the current day.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on July 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ellie Bartholomew is a twenty-year-old with a lot of issues. As the youngest of three daughters, she feels she's an embarrassment to her family-not just because of her facial scars or deviant behavior, but because she never says the right thing and doesn't hold to the family's religious "babble." She avoids her family and finds comfort in nearly all lost causes like stray animals, the Atlanta Braves and emotionally-scarred neighbors.

The Dwelling Place is her unraveling of her family history-an assignment from rehab. But it's a more mature telling of the story than the immature and rebellious Ellie we meet in chapter one. Her assignment is completed only after an intense summer dealing with her mother and caring for her during chemotherapy's awful aftermath.

Ellie has spent the last several years of her life despising her parents for what they let happen to her as a child. Her bitterness and feelings of betrayal have caused her to build additional walls with her parents and sisters. And her assumptions of their "perfect"" lives make her feel like even more of an outcast-because the hell she's been through has left her anything but perfect.

Musser does an incredible job of involving the reader. The writing is conversational-where you feel a part of the story naturally. The unfolding of the story is seamless; Musser grabs the reader from the second sentence of the prologue when she hints at scandal. Ellie is a narrator one can relate to-the emotions felt of betrayal, unhappiness, and insecurity. The conflict between perception versus reality and the unveiling of truth is so well done in this novel. The characterizations make you care and cry and the research makes the book that much more fascinating and personal. I was really impressed with The Dwelling Place and plan on reading Musser's first book, The Swan House.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fred W. Hood on October 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Each chapter is clearly introduced by a quote from Victor Hugo, Sir Walter Scott or James Herriott. Some literary gems that enhance the stories of young, still growing Miss Ellie Barthlolomew; An emotionally, physically scarred 20 yr old lady who is searching for lost faith and healing from the emotionally scars even as a 10 yr old victim of burning. In the ending all of her problems relate to her parents, grandparents & sisters.

When she spends 2 weeks on Hilton Head Island, a bit into Sea Pines Plantation near Spotted Sandpiper, Snowy Egret, Red Cardinal and Black Skimmer Lanes, she visits Harbor Town where her friend, Ben Abrams, who plays with his band at the Quarterdeck Lounge. During the day Ben is the Youth director of the Baptist Church near the South Beach! During her 2 week visit she and her cancer-ridden mother, Mary Swan, famous artist, become bosom friends, reconciled Mother and rehabilitated daughter!

A passionately fabulous story of truth, joyfulness, much forgiveness and love...Retired Chaplain Fred W Hood
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Ahlers on June 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having not read "Swan House" I came to this read with an open mind and obviously not familiar with the characters I didn't have any preconceived notions. This was an emotional read regarding the coming to terms with reality rather than perception from a young woman's point of view regarding her own mother.

Ellie is the youngest daughter of three and she has a hard time coming to terms with her family and the way they see her. Her mother is now fighting cancer and wants to take a tour of Europe to re-visit the places she had once seen. The Dwelling Place calls her. Ellie can't think of anyone she'd rather not tour Europe with but since her other sisters are busy with their lives Ellie reluctantly goes. This will be a trip that teaches her more than she ever thought possible. Will she loose her mother though just when she is finally getting to know who she really is?

This was a very emotional read and for the most part well written. There were several places where the story dragged and there were times when the read became a little preachy in context. Still these were few and far between and as a result not too much to ruin a very good story. "The Dwelling Place" is a good read that just about anyone can relate to.

Official Reviewer for Romance Designs
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?