Daughter of the Forest // A Wonderful Read Which Meets The Hype and Then Some

05 September 2016

Published: 1st April 1999
Source: Bought
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction
My Rating:
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.
A wicked woman, an evil curse, and a love that must triumph over impossible odds
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.
The keep at Sevenwaters is a remote, strange, quiet place, guarded by silent men who slip through the woodlands clothed in grey, and keep their weapons sharp. For there are invaders outside the forest; raiders from across the seas, Britons and Vikings bent on destruction. But now there is also an invader inside the keep: the Lady Oonagh, a sorceress as fair as day, but with a heart as black as night. Oonagh captivates Lord Colum with her sensual wiles; but she cannot enchant the wary Sorcha. Frustrated in her attempts to destroy the family, Oonagh binds the brothers with a spell that only Sorcha can lift. If she fails, they will die.
Then the raiders come, and Sorcha is taken captive.

Soon she will find herself torn between her duty to break the curse, and a growing, forbidden love for the warlord who is her captor.

Like Marion Zimmer Bradley’s MISTS OF AVALON or Jean Auel’s CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR, this is first-rate historical fantasy that can have the widest possible appeal, taking in also the readership of historical fiction writers like Mary Stewart , Mary Renault and Anya Seton.
Everyone has been talking about this book for so long that I knew I had to read it too. The only problem? The raving about it made me nervous that disappointment was inevitable. I mean, everyone I know who has read this book has had nothing but good things to say about this book. How could I not be nervous when everyone has said nothing but good? You need some negative to temper your expectations. Right?

So Here’s Me Attempting to Temper Your Expectations

Look, the most negative thing I have to say this book is the fact that it began quite slowly. I mean, I had some serious doubts during the first chapter or two (which are looong chapters) as I was waiting for something interesting to happen. It was a major info dump about the characters and I didn’t know what was happening. It took the introduction of the sorceress Oonagh for me to really get into the story, but once that happened I understood the need for the info dump at the beginning because you realised the significance as you went through the books.

Slow pacing is not a deal breaker in books for me, though. As long as I am prepared for them and it doesn’t go at a glacial pace throughout the entire book. This one doesn’t do that. It goes slow… slow… slow… OMG don’t make me put this book down because I need to know what’s happening!

And Here’s Me Hyping Things Up For You

I won’t spoil any of the story for you because I really think my going in blind made this story so perfect for me, but it was amazing. I loved all of the characters and the entire feel of the book. I mean, it felt like reading an old school fantasy/fairytale and it didn’t need to be a tale of someone saving the world. Or a ‘chosen one’ story. It was just a girl and her family trying to overcome the wrongs done to them.

I think what made this story so perfect were the characters. These were characters who felt like genuine real people and I adored them. Sorcha was the bravest most inspiring character. She is someone who does literally anything and everything she can for her family because she knows they would do the same for her. Her struggles are immense. I honestly could not have done half what she did in this books and it was amazing. I would have given up within days… hours even. Even when things got dark for her and things happened which would have broken even the strongest person she managed to continue her quest. I think she managed that because she wasn’t alone.

Sorcha may be our main character, but she was supported by a vast host of characters. I adored the character of Red and how he was the opposite of what Sorcha had been led to expect from Englishman. His interaction with Sorcha was priceless. I adored every moment they were together in the book and how they were both so self sacrificing for others.

Let’s Summarise For Those Who Want The Basics

Let’s get straight to the point. This is a book for those who want an old school fantasy book which is very much a historical story influenced by Celtic mythology. It begins slowly and develops into a gripping read which is touching and heart-breaking and beautiful. It is filled with inspiring characters which will make you question the last nice thing you did for someone and it will make you want to cuddle it. It may be part of a series but it is the kind of book which can be read independently as well and is just perfect. This is the book you will end up comparing many a book to.

Have you read any hyped books lately? Did it meet the hype or disappoint you? And have you read this book, wasn’t it fabulous?
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