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Book: Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, Child of the Prophet by Juliet Marillier
Genre: Historical Fiction / Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: 1999, 2000, 2001
Source: ebooks from library
Summary: Sevenwaters is a forested family estate in Ireland in medieval times when Christianity was just beginning to take hold and Druids still practiced. This was a time when older creatures of the land still showed themselves, occasionally, for the purpose of making erudite but mysterious pronouncements.
Sorcha tells her tale in Daughter of the Forest:
I should have been the seventh son of a seventh son, but the goddess was playing tricks, and I was a girl. And after she gave birth to me, my mother died.
Her father changes with the grief and Sorcha is largely raised by her six older brothers and the household staff and tenants of Sevenwaters. She has a reasonably happy childhood, developing a talent and knowledge of healing arts. All went well until the stepmother, an evil sorceress, shows up on the scene.
It’s up to Sorcha to save the family and all of its potential to restore and conserve lost ways before they disappear.
Thoughts: I labeled Daughter of the Forest and the following two books as fantasy, but I think it might be more accurate to think of them as mythology. At least, I enjoyed them that way — as an accurate, if fictional, representation of beliefs that are not my own, possibly much older than my beliefs. Another option for a label, especially for Daughter of the Forest, is to read it as an expanded fairy tale.
I really enjoyed reading three books set in Ireland, back-to-back-to-back, as a fun acknowledgment of St. Patrick’s Day next week.
Each successive book moved us forward one generation, with some characters of the first book still playing their roles in the third book.
Unlike many trilogies, each of these books was a satisfying story in itself, with a proper ending that wraps up the main plot of that book. I appreciate that. Sometimes, I don’t get to read three books of a trilogy, all in a row.
These three books were published as a trilogy, but three more books were added in 2008, 2010, and 2011. I’m going to try to remember to read those books before St. Patrick’s Day in 2023. I’ll enjoy revisiting this world of green surrounded by sea again.
Appeal: These are the kind of chunkster books that can be mesmerizing and relaxing, when you’re in the mood for that.
Challenges: I hesitated, a bit, before counting the Sevenwaters trilogy as part of my Historical Fiction Challenge. There are fantastical elements, but these books are not set in a made-up place. The stories are rooted in a particular space and at a particular time in history. I’m no expert on medieval times or Druidry or the other topics covered in the Sevenwaters series, but the verisimilitude worked for me.
Have you read the Sevenwaters books? What did you think?