{Review} Daughter of the Forest ~ Retelling a Celtic Tale

Posted October 5, 2015 in Reading, Review / 4 Comments

{Review} Daughter of the Forest ~ Retelling a Celtic TaleDaughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Series: Sevenwaters #1
Publisher: Tor (1999)
Hardcover (400 pages)
Via: Library
Reading Challenges: 2015 Fairytale Retelling, 2015 Re-Reading, Read 2015


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.

Find the book: Goodreads, Amazon, Book Depository

My Review

This is, I believe, my third read of Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. I am pretty sure this was yet another book that I first read from my grade school library.

Sorcha is the youngest of seven children and the only girl. She and her six older brothers are very close. Their mother died after giving birth to Sorcha. Their father was never the same and so her brothers raised her for all intents and purposes.

On one of their father’s return trips from campaigning to protect the island of Ireland, a young Briton soldier is captured. Finbar, one of Sorcha’s brothers, asks her for a sleeping potion and proceeds to free the boy.

A few days later Sorcha is asked by the local hermit priest to help a patient of his. This patient happens to be the young Briton man. Through careful and persistent work, Sorcha nurses him.

Then Lord Colum, Sorcha’s father, returns home with a new bride. She is the typical evil stepmother of the fairytales who hates her stepchildren and uses some dark magic.

It is through her dark magic that the evil stepmother transforms Sorcha’s brothers into swans. Hence the name “Wild Swans” for the original Celtic tale. Sorcha is informed by the Lady of the Forest, a fairy, that only she can break the curse laid on her brothers.

Sorcha is given a hard task. She is required to spin stinging nettles into thread and then weave it into a shirt for each brother. It must all be done with her own hands. On top of that, she is forbidden from speaking or else the curse will be permanent.

So Sorcha embarks on her task. It isn’t an easy path for her to walk but she will do it for her brothers.

I love how strong the ties of family are in this novel. These siblings would honestly do absolutely anything for each other. Sorcha is willing to literally give up some of her life to accomplish an unforgiving task to save her brothers. That takes some serious dedication.

Even though I could call the romance from the first time we meet the character, it was okay. He is a great guy and the romance is so obvious even before either character admits it. That really didn’t bother me because I liked the way the romance developed.

The cover of this novel is beautiful. It was most likely that which first lead me to this book. Even in grade school I was a shameless cover reader. It is hard to resist a beautiful cover.

I just want to mention one other thing before I finish this review. While I first found this book in my grade school library and read it then, that might not have been the best location for the book. There is one point in the book that is probably not something that should be read by children. If you have read this book, you probably know exactly what I mean.

All in all, I love this book. I always have and I probably always will. It is such a great book based on a rather unknown Celtic tale.

Which Reading Challenges?

  • You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge
  • Hard-Core Re-Reading Challenge
  • Fairytale Retelling Challenge (Wild Swans)


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4 responses to “{Review} Daughter of the Forest ~ Retelling a Celtic Tale

  1. I’ve been a huge fan of Juliet Marillier for years now and it all started with this book 🙂 I’ve read it a couple of times now and it makes me fall in love with her work every single time. It’s good to know I’m not alone 😀 I feel like she should be more popular.

    • Juliet Marillier’s writing is just beautiful. I wish everyone would read this book and appreciate it as much as I do.
      Thanks for visiting. I hope you had a great weekend.

  2. Ah, now I see your review for Daughter of the Forest. And you’ve even read it multiple times as well. 😀 As much as I love Sorcha and Red, I have to admit that Simon breaks my heart each time I re-read.
    Have you read the other two books in the trilogy? I think Son of the Shadows is my favorite, although it’s such a hard call.
    I can’t believe this book was in your grade school library, though. I first read it in middle school, which is still quite young in retrospect.

    • Yes, I have read the whole trilogy. It is great. 🙂
      The grade school I went to was rather small so we had K-8 in one building and we shared a library. Thinking back, there were a lot of books in that library that probably shouldn’t have been there…
      Thanks for stopping by!