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Daughter of the Forest [Hardcover]

Juliet Marillier
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 5 2000 Sevenwaters (Book 1)
Juliet Marillier is a rare talent, a writer who can imbue her characters and her story with such warmth, such heart, that no reader can come away from her work untouched. 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.

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.

To reclaim the lives of her brothers, Sorcha leaves the only safe place she has ever known, and embarks on a journey filled with pain, loss, and terror.

When she is kidnapped by enemy forces and taken to a foreign land, it seems that there will be no way for her to break the spell that condemns all that she loves. But magic knows no boundaries, and Sorcha will have to choose between the life she has always known and a love that comes only once.

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Product Description

From Amazon

At the heart of this surprisingly accomplished first novel, first book of the Sevenwaters trilogy, is a retelling of an ancient Celtic legend. Marillier's story, however, is much more than a slightly disguised fairy tale. Young Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Irish Lord Colum of Sevenwaters, a domain well protected from invading Saxons and Britons by dense forest where, legend says, fey Deirdre, the Lady of the Forest, walks the woodland paths at night. Colum is first and foremost a warrior, bent on maintaining his lands against all outsiders. Not all of his sons are so bound to the old ways, and that family friction leads to outright disobedience when Sorcha and her brother Finbar help a Briton captive escape from Colum's dungeon. Soon after, Colum brings home a new wife who ensorcels everyone she can't otherwise manipulate. By her spell Sorcha's brothers are cursed to become swans. Only Sorcha, hiding deep in the forest, can break the spell by painfully weaving shirts of starwort nettle--but then Sorcha is captured by Britons and taken away across the sea. Determined to break the curse despite her captivity, Sorcha continues to work, little expecting that ultimately she will have to chose between saving her brothers and protecting the Briton lord who has defended her throughout her trials. Marillier's writing is deft and heartfelt, bypassing the usual bombast of fantasy fireworks for a rich, magical story of loyalty and love. --Charlene Brusso

From Library Journal

As the only daughter and youngest child of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters, Sorcha grows up protected and pampered by her six older brothers. When a sorceress's evil magic ensorcels Colum's sons, transforming them into swans, only Sorcha's efforts can break the curse. Marillier's first novel uses a familiar Celtic legend to tell the story of a young woman's sacrifice for the sake of those she loves and her own discovery of unexpected joy in the midst of sorrow. The author's keen understanding of Celtic paganism and early Irish Christianity adds texture to a rich and vibrant novel that belongs in most fantasy collections.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartbreakingly wonderful masterpiece July 15 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was amazed, upon the end of this magical and lyrical novel, to find out that this was the author's first book. I had been very skeptical, as I in general do not like fantasy that much and had been talked into reading it by a friend. But I was absolutely captivated and enthralled by the story. It is more than a fairy tale, for it is a masterful retelling of the girl who has to save her enchanted brothers and break the spell. The rape scene disturbed me, to be honest, and it was mainly because by then, hadn't we all nearly "become" Sorcha? I know the book has been called a bodice-ripper by some, but I think that a "bodice-ripper" is a false description of this beautifully crafted and wonderful novel. Sorcha had become a part of me through the author's lovely way with words. I could feel Sorcha and her brothers' pain throughout the novel and it brought to tears to my eyes many times as she went through her harrowing trials to achieve the beautiful, albeit sad and rather depressing ending. I will not give away what happens, thouhg- you must read for yourself! The only fault I found with the novel was Sorcha's choice in love. Red/Hugh was, to me, a bland character and not fitting for Sorcha. I, being the foolish romantic I am, had hoped that Sorcha would end up with Simon. He was a tortured and complex character who could have gone very far, and I thought that Simon and Sorcha had a deeper connection than Red and Sorcha. Red simply did not have the passion or fire that I glimpsed in the small descriptions of Simon to make him interesting in my eyes. True, the author did not expand much on Simon's character, but that, I suppose, is part of why he was not the love interest. Read this novel and step into Sorcha's world of magic, myth, romance and lore. Do not miss out on this work of art!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! June 12 2004
By Kat
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Daughter of the Forest" is a great romance and fantasy. I like a little fantasy in my books, not a lot (with weird creatures and such) and this one had just the right amount with other more believeable parts in it. (It does have the Fairy Folk in it, but we believe in them, right?!) I love anything Celtic and the myth of the six swans is well told. I thought the characterizations, especially Sorcha and her brothers, were well defined. Even though there were six brothers they each had a distinct personality. I kept on running into this book in various places and wondered if I wanted to read it but kept putting it off. I was a little worried about whether I would like all the descriptions. (I like a book with quite a bit of dialog.) Since Sorcha can't speak (although there is a mind-speak or telepathy in the book) I was afraid all the descriptions would bog the book down. Not at all. It is too well-written for that. I did feel it was a bit wordy and could've been condensed by about 100 pages. I'm looking forward to reading the other two books of the trilogy. If you like fantasy and romance this is the book for you. And, if you like Ireland or anything Celtic, or fairy tale retellings like I do, this is must reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Grimm tale + Celtic flavor = beautiful creation May 27 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a beautifully written retelling (which a Celtic twist) of the Grimm fairytale in which a girl, through a labor of love, tries to free her six brothers who have been transformed into swans by an evil enchantress. The overall tone is sweeping and romantic, but the romance is subtle and never too much to bear. I found it especially interesting how the author portrays Sorcha, the protagonist, as not wanting to speak for the greater part of the book. Sorcha's body language and occasional mind-speak must have been difficult to to portray in words, but the author does not oversimplify Sorcha or have her relay (successfully) complicated ideas using only hand motions.
The fact that I cared about what happened to Sorcha and her brothers, each being unique and well developed characters, says a lot for the author's accomplishment here, in my opinion. However, I found the Briton named Red too much of a stereotypical "flat" love interest, and his abrupt personality change near the end was not particularly believable. Dispite its few flaws, I do plan on reading the rest of Marillier's trilogy--the blend of Celtic fantasy and history has me intruiged!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy Romance May 19 2004
By Barbara
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sorcha is the only daughter of an Irish Lord that has 6 sons. The story is set some time in the Middle Ages (not sure exactly when) when Christianity is overtaking the old ways of the Druids. The first 150 pages acquaint us with the children of the family and their personalities and talents. Sorcha is only 13, but is a gifted healer nonetheless. When their widowed father takes a new wife it changes their lives. A spell is put on the family and Sorcha must complete an impossible task in order to break the spell. She lives alone in the forest for awhile working to accomplish her goal, but when she is forced to leave, Sorcha is rescued/kidnapped and taken to a country that her people are at war with.
Sorcha's loyalty, dedication and determination are admirable. She spends a long time in silence (part of the spell is that she can't speak) in a foreign country where she is disliked. She cannot explain why she spends her days as she does and this makes her appear crazy. While there, she falls in love with Hugh, the Lord of the Manor. His family, friends and tenants can't understand why he brought her home in the first place and his interest in her baffles them. Their explanation is that she put a spell on him. Add Hugh's evil uncle and missing brother to the mix and there are sufficient obstacles to her breaking the curse and fulfilling her relationship.
The ending is happy and predictable, but the way the story unfolds is very well done. There is some telepathy, forest fairies and of course there is the spell itself, but they all fit neatly into the story and there is no unexpected magic. Warning to readers that there is a brief scene of sexual violence.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The hundreds of pages flew by. It was a well told fantasy romance that I believe will appeal much more to women as it is really a love story and there are no bloody battles.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
I loved this book. It's a truly engaging, and at times brutal, fairy tale. I just couldn't put it down. Highly recommended!
Published 4 months ago by Michaela
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
What could have been a really good story was ruined for me by the endless filler pages of descriptive texts.
Published 6 months ago by ravenliz
5.0 out of 5 stars A love best shared.
I simply love this book. Juliet Marillier entangled me in her rush of story telling, and I scarcely came up for air. Read more
Published on March 22 2011 by Mistyspark
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it!
I only ordered this book because it had so many great reviews on amazon. I have never read fantasy before, and I have to say that I love this book. Read more
Published on March 8 2010 by Hopfor
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenominal Story, Amazingly Written
This book is quite possibly my favourite book of all time. The only book that I can think of that I might like more is Son of Shadows, the second book in the Seven Waters trilogy. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2009 by Jillian MacLean
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful!
A beautifully told story woven from the essence of legend, history and fairy-tale. Juiliet Marillier is a high caliber writer comparable to Marion Zimmer Bradley, sharing her gift... Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2009 by Why Not
4.0 out of 5 stars Daughter of the Forest
"Daughter of the Forest" by Juliet Marillier is based on "The Six Swans" a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm. Read more
Published on July 30 2008 by Pauline
5.0 out of 5 stars i love it!
this is one of my favorite books in the entire world! i first picked this in grade 9 or 10 and to this day it remains one of my favorite and most highly recommended books. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2006 by elfdart
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully written story. A pleasure to read.
This book is original, very tender, and all of its characters have depth and personality all their own---no small feat in a book of a dozen or more characters for an author to... Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2004 by Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Sevenwaters Trilogy is the Best
Juliet Marillier truly does capture the spirit of a fictional Ireland in the Dark Ages. I admire her as a writer, because she is not afraid to write about subjects that have been... Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by amber A.
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