In Daughter of the Forest, Young Sorcha is content with her life at Sevenwaters. She loves her six older brothers dearly and hasn’t felt lacking. She even feels a sense of belonging in the dense and magical forest which surrounds and protects their home. When her brother asks her assistance in saving a young Briton imprisoned in their keep, she learns that the forest cannot always shield her from the outside world. But the real trouble doesn’t start until her father, Lord Colum, brings home his new bride-to-be, sorceress Lady Oonagh. Before her brothers can escape her evil machinations, they are turned into swans, and only Sorcha, by completing a painful, near impossible task, can break the spell.

Spoiler alert: this is one of my favorite books of all time. I like so many things about Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest, it’s hard to name them all: the Celtic folklore, the fairy tale retelling, the characters, the writing, and the love story. But what made it so good for me was how all of these aspects came together. I’ve never felt more in a character’s shoes than I did in Sorcha’s, which made her story all the more joyful, heart-wrenching, and engrossing. I leisurely savored the breathtaking descriptions of the forest. I cried in pain and sadness. I relished the poetic language. I sat alertly on the edge of my seat, arms tense, as the cycle of trial after trial was mounted and overcome. I shed a tear of joy. I gleefully smiled and solemnly sighed at the ending. And I wondered afterwards when I’d ever have another experience like this one. Highly recommended for fans of epic fantasy and fairy tale retellings.

Reviewed by Holly

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