The Dwelling Place

From the author of the acclaimed The Swan House.

Ellie, twenty-year-old daughter of Mary Swan and Robbie Bartholomew, knows all about dashed dreams and waiting. Because of a childhood accident that left her disfigured, Ellie has never been able to embrace the God of her parents.

Though Ellie doesn’t understand the significance of the place, nor the mystery that seems to surround it, she agrees to travel with her mother to a site in Scotland known as the Dwelling Place.

But when illness strikes, Ellie instead reluctantly moves back home to care for her mother. As she and her mother struggle to reconnect, Ellie begins to wonder why Mary Swan wanted to go to the Dwelling Place. Is there a dwelling place for Ellie as well? And does she have to travel halfway around the world to find it?

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

Author’s Note

The Dwelling Place is the story of a daughter’s struggle to reconcile with her mother and find her place in a family in which he has never fit. Many characters from The Swan House reappear in this novel, which, although set in present day Atlanta, nonetheless takes the reader back into the world of the turbulent 60’s and specifically the events of 1968 in both America and France.

The novel examines the themes of brokenness and healing, faith, and forgiveness, surrender and sacrifice and gives an honest viewpoint of what the evangelical world looks like from the outside. 

For Book Clubs

Discussion questions

Praise for The Dwelling Place (c2005)

Book 2 in The Swan House Series

Every once in a while, a book comes along that impacts you from start to finish.  Musser displays a rare gift for complex characterization and intricate plotting that starkly reveals flaws as well as beauties in human nature. ~ Romantic Times, April 2005

A companion to The Swan House and a competent mother-daughter tale, this title may have cross- over appeal for readers of Anna Quindlen’s One True Thing. A native of Atlanta, Musser now lives in France. ~ Library Journal, April, 2005

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. 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… Musser handles many symbolic moments well…Musser’s solid prose, careful historical details and themes of hope and forgiveness make this an attractive choice for faith fiction readers. ~ Publisher’s Weekly, April, 2005

The story is an examination of a mother-daughter relationship and how our perceptions of events change as we mature…. Ellie’s faith journey is realistic and heartwarming. The Dwelling Place is true-to-life and should appeal to readers. ~ Bookloons, April, 2005

This is one book that you cannot put down. ~ The Romance Readers Connection, April, 2005

The Dwelling Place (is) rich with historical details from the 1960s to the present. ~ Atlanta Intown, June 2005

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.  That’s what Musser has done in her books, including her latest, The Dwelling Place (Bethany House, Apr.), which continues the story of Mary Swan Middleton, the main character of The Swan House (Bethany House, 2001), and her daughter. Both novels are set in Musser’s native Atlanta and are rich with historical details from the 1960s to the present.  ~ Publisher’s Weekly, Author Profile, April, 2005

The (Christian book) industry, (according to publisher Allen Arnold) is seeing “more and more storytellers writing high-quality novels with their Christian worldview intact”…  “It’s the blending of storytelling and craft that sets books like his apart,” (Bethany House’s Fiction Acquisition Editor David) Long said, including in Bethany’s stable of literary writers Lisa Sampson (Tiger Lillie, 2004), Jamie Langston Turner(No Dark Valley, 2004), Elizabeth Musser (The Dwelling Place, Apr.; see InProfile in this issue) and Athol Dickson…Says Long: “Literary authors spend more time on character development than on plot. In our industry especially, the interior lives of characters take time to develop; we sense that they are genuinely three-dimensional people. Books that give time to that development are the ones people are responding to. The characters are a little richer, a little fuller.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly, Great Aspirations, by Marcia Ford, April, 2005 

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