Daughter of the Forest

Daughter of the Forest

Six Swans Stories

Daughter of the Forest is not a typical romance book, far from it.  It is rather historical fantasy with a tiny bit of romance sprinkled throughout the pages.  The book centers around the lives of the offspring of Colum of Sevenwaters, a chieftain of the biggest Tuáth in Erin (Ireland).  Colum, a widower, had six sons, and one daughter, Sorcha the youngest and the only female.  Sorcha is the heart of the stronghold of Sevenwaters,  and from early age devotes herself to learning the arts of healing as well as preserving the old rituals and religion.  Colum, however, is deeply involved in regaining The Isles — a group of islands halfway between Erin and Britain, south of the Isle of Mann —  back for Erin from the Britons,  as they are the center of the spiritual life of the people of Erin and their guardianship had been trusted to his family many generations ago by the Tuatha Dé Dannan (the faeries).

Sorcha grows unheeded, wild,  raised by her brothers while her father is away fighting for Erin. In one of his briefs stays, Colum takes notice of his daughter and in an effort to make a lady out of her, and improve her marriage prospects, he marries Lady Oonagh.  From there things go a bit hairy for the family as Lady Oonagh is really a powerful sorceress.  She is ambitious and seeks to destroy all of Colum’s heirs and gain the stronghold of Sevenwaters for herself.  Lady Oonagh turns all of Sorcha’s brothers into swans and plans to kill Sorcha, but Sorcha flees.  Aided by the Lady of the Forest (Deirdre), Sorcha begins the painful task of saving her brothers; she must spin and weave six shirts from a spiky, poisonous plant that makes her hands swell and causes her skin to break out in painful blisters.  All of this must be done in complete silence, if she utters a word during the period when she is harvesting, drying, spinning, weaving or sewing, her brothers will forever remain as swans.  The painful task takes Sorcha many years and in her efforts to escape the clutches of the Lady Oonagh, she is constantly on the move, and she is confronted with many trials and hardships.

Those of you familiar with the story of the Six Swan know what happens next.  Those of you that are not familiar with it, and wish to read this book, should pick up a copy soon.  Marillier does a wonderful job with the story’s pace and she successfully draws the reader into the world of Sevenwaters, where the mundane and the fae mix and walk together under the shades of the ancient oaks and rowan trees.  Beware, do not wander away from the path, or you may fall pray to one of the Good Folk and their tricks!

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Economics Student by day, classical singer by night. My hobbies are: painting, drawing, gardening, embroidery, photography, and learning how to play the piano.