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DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST: Book 1 (The Sevenwaters Trilogy)

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The death of his wife made him unable to bond with his daughter but Sorcha didn’t really mind because she had her six older brothers.

The book works both as a fantasy and a romance, while still remaining faithful to all of the significant elements of the original fairy tale.

It shows how the mindset is altered, how overwhelming it can be and how hard it is for someone to escape that event. Set in the Celtic twilight of ancient Ireland, when myth was law and magic a force of nature, this is the tale of Sorcha, seventh child of a seventh son, the forbidding Lord Colum, and of her six beloved brothers. Daughter of the Forest is a testimony to that talent, a first novel and the beginning of a trilogy like no other: a mixture of history and fantasy, myth and magic, legend and love. As the days go by, Red and Sorcha gradually fall in love, though they are separated by his need to find Simon and her fear of men after her rape—as well as her belief that he only loves her because the Fair Folk bound him to her as her protector. Not long after, Diarmid’s particular skill with the spear earned him a place beside his brother, and all too soon both were riding out with Father’s band of warriors.

Knowing nothing of any other form of parental guidance, I accepted this as the way things were done. But it is Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter, who alone is destined to defend her family and protect her land from the Britons and the clan known as Northwoods. I adore fantasy worlds that tie in political plot lines, and with the added elements of folklore and magic, this was a world I wanted to know all about. Set mainly in ancient Ireland, the series covers four generations in the family of Sevenwaters, which enjoys a special relationship with the people of the Otherworld.Perhaps more telling – I was almost as surprised as the protagonist when the romance finally emerged. While I admit, an association with my own rather fairy tale romance, and my attraction to tiny, gentle, indomitable ladies might contribute to how positively I feel about Daughter of the Forest, at the same time, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

A magnificent saga set in the Celtic twilight of 10th century Ireland, when myth was law and magic was a power of nature, brilliantly brought to life: the legendary story of an evil stepmother opposed by a seventh child. This section may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may interest only a particular audience. Elaine is also the one to inform Red's household that he has cancelled their betrothal to marry Sorcha. The very fact that none of Marillier’s characters discuss these inherently sexist assumptions, combined with the variety of characters, male and female, good and bad, makes the very way she deals with gender relations all the more powerful than many books with a more overtly “feminist” slant.

On the one hand, Marillier describes the skills allotted to women, from textile arts, to gathering food in the forest, and especially Sorcha’s knowledge of herb lore and midwifery, as the difficult and genuinely detailed skills they are, no less worthy of professional admiration than other crafts; indeed the very descriptions of Sorcha’s spinning, weaving and sewing the shirts would give me finger ache even without the starwort. Yet, to go along with this Marillier also tells us of Sorcha’s recovery, a recovery aided by the care and kindness she receives from several good men along the way; most notably the man she marries. The relationship between the seven of them was really well written – how important it is to Sorcha, how they each carry a bit of their mother, how they each have different destinies (will the trilogy continue with their stories? It follows Sorcha's journey as she struggles to break the curse her stepmother Lady Oonagh casted upon her brothers, turning them into swans.

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