My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale
Content: A rather intense rape scene
Lord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with six sons: Liam, a natural leader; Diarmid, with his passion for adventure; twins Cormack and Conor, each with a different calling; rebellious Finbar, grown old before his time by his gift of the Sight; and the young, compassionate Padriac.
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. For her father has been bewitched, and her brothers bound by a spell that only Sorcha can lift.
Daughter of the Forest has been on my to-read list for ages. I kept putting off reading it for one reason or another, so when the Fantasy Buddy Reads group on Goodreads decided to buddy read it, I joined in on the read. I love Juliet Marillier's writing so much. I know probably I say that every time I read a book written by her, but she is truly one of my favorite fantasy authors. That being said, this book was not an easy read. It's heartbreakingly grim at times and at one point I put it down for something lighter. I honestly considered not continuing on for a minute there, but knew I would regret that. There is always a huge pay-off in the end for readers of Marillier's books. Ultimately this is a beautiful story about love and sacrifice. One of the most beautiful I've read.
“For indeed you have a choice. You can flee and hide, and wait to be found. You can live out your days in terror, without meaning. Or you can take the harder choice, and you can save them.”
I fell in love with the characters in this book, in particular Sorcha, who had to be so strong for the ones she loved, and Red, who treated her with such love and care, even when he didn't understand the reasons behind the things she was doing. And then when he did come to understand a bit of why she was doing what she was doing when no one else could see it, I loved him even more.
"Each of you was put through many trials; each of you proved strong, strong enough for their purpose. So strong, indeed, that you came close to thwarting them, for each of you chose to give up what was loved best, in the hope that the other would find happiness."
Then there were Sorcha's brothers. Finbar holds a special place in my heart above the others with Conor a close second. There were times when her brothers were very inconsiderate of what Sorcha might want, and there was a point when I thought they did not deserve the sacrifices that she had made for them, but most of them redeemed themselves in my eyes by the end of the story.
“The end of the story is of your making, nobody else's. You can do with it as you choose. There are as many paths open to your hero as branches on a great tree. They are wonderful and terrible, and plain and twisted. They touch and part and intermingle, and you can follow them whatever way you will.”
I recommend this book if you like fairy tale retellings, historical fantasy, or enjoy Marillier's other books. This one is based on The Swan Princes (princes not princess). There are companion books that span more than one generation, and I'm looking forward to eventually reading them.
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