When I was a teenager, there was a bookstore in town that sold hardcover copies of books at reduced prices. It was never clear to me whether these were “used” books or not, but it didn’t matter. I scored multiple hardback beauties in every trip. One day, I was perusing the Fantasy//Science-fiction shelf when I came across a gorgeous cover. It was creamy with delicately detailed drawings on the front. It’s title? Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. I was intrigued. After taking it home, I immediately became immersed in the story. Anyone who’s read DotF will know exactly what I’m talking about. Despite the fact that it is well over 200,000 words (at least, I’m pretty sure it is…), it sucks you in and absorbs your mind.
My first impressions (as a thirteen year old) were, “Holy cow! This book is AMAZING!” As a young girl blossoming into my own womanhood, I really connected with the heroine of the novel who was close to my own age. Sorcha’s voice in the story is strong, yet incredibly gentle. Because I am a HUGE anti-spoiler person, I’ll not give away the best parts, but I’ll divulge to you the reasons why as an adult, I’ve probably read DotF four or five additional times (I’ve lost count, I love it so much) and plan on reading it continually throughout my life.
As well, I wanted to get this review up in honor of the Seven Days for Sevenwaters event over at The Book Harbinger blog. You should check it out! They’re going to be hosting some really cool stuff! It will be held from September 10th-16th.
Author: Juliet Marillier
Length: (Paperback) 544 pages
Genre: Historical Fantasy
My Rating: 5/5 Stars, hands down
A Favorite Quote: “You know not, yet, the sort of love that strikes like a lightning bolt; that clutches hold of you by the heart, as irrevocably as death; that becomes the lodestar by which you steer the rest of your life. I would not wish such a love on anyone, man or woman, for it can make your life a paradise, or it can destroy you utterly.”
― Juliet Marillier, Daughter of the Forest
Have you ever read a book that literally changed your life? The sort of book by which you judge all other books? That is Daughter of the Forest for me. Because I read it during my transition from girlhood to womanhood, it touched me in a way that no other book has. As a thirteen year old during my first read-through, I was enchanted by the story of love, romance, heartache, and commitment. I had yet to experience some of those things, so I yearned for an epic story of my own. As an adult, I am enchanted by the same things, but because I have experienced them and look upon them as the formative pieces of my life’s tapestry.
The main character in this novel, Sorcha, begins as a strong, but wary child and grows into a courageous woman with a fierce determination to set things right that go wrong in the story. She experiences hardships many of us cannot imagine. In many novels, the characters just bounce back after terrible things and move on without an ounce of difficulty. Not so in Daughter of the Forest. Our heroine deals with some very harrowing things and yet moves through them with fear and trembling.
The time period in which this story is written is volatile and fragile. It was fascinating to read about the Britons and their problems with the Irish. As well, the settings for the story–the Forest of Sevenwaters and the estate at Harrowfield–both act as characters in their own right. Marillier brings the land alive and makes us feel connected to these places, even though we’ve never “met”.
The romance in the story is honestly the most touching I’ve EVER read. Period. It will make your heart burst with joy, pain, despair, and hope. It is intensely meaningful and makes you want to pay close attention to your own love and devotion to your significant other.
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book. It is my absolute favorite book in all existence and has been since I first read it eleven years ago. If you’ve never read it, RUN to a bookstore or online bookseller and purchase this jewel of literature. You’ll never regret it. I promise.
Other reviews on Daughter of the Forest: