Tessa's book review: Daughter of the forest by Juliet Marillier

    Daughter of the Forest was an outstanding read--Jacket coverone that kept me turning the next page in anticipation. Although it is a retelling of The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen, this book was as fresh and unexpected as a totally new story.  The atmosphere is enchanting and the book is lyrical, taking flight in so many ways. Sorcha, the main character and princess, is the youngest of seven children.  If she had been a boy, she would have been the seventh son of a seventh son, but instead she is a mirror of her dead mother, even to her fey abilities. Her six brothers raise her, since her father, the lord of Sevenwaters, is too grief-stricken and war-driven to notice his children.
    It is a time of war and hostility between the Irish and Britons, encouraging mutual disgust and accusations.  When a young Briton is taken captive, Sorcha's brother Finbar rescues him and takes him to the hermit Father Brien.  But his injuries from the torture her father's men inflicted are too severe, and Father Brien needs Sorcha's healing skills to help him.  Even at her young age, Sorcha has knowledge and healing skills which surpass most people, thanks to her heritage, education and access to her father's large library. Healing Simon, however, becomes a horrific burden as Sorcha begins to realize that the world is not as innocent and peaceful as she has previously experienced.
    When Lord Colum marries again, all the people realize Oonagh is not the kind stepmother she seems.  The brothers are apalled and avoid the new lady as much as possible.  As does Sorcha, but Lady Oonagh has powers and ways to hurt that none anticipate. The siblings' attempt to stop Oonagh becomes a catastrophe beyond anything they could have prepared for, and Sorcha and her brothers pay dearly. The mysterious Lady of the Forest appears with dire warnings and help for Sorcha, but, even so, the years of agony are slowly creeping and changing them all. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the trilogy. ~ Tessa J. Eger         4.5 out of 5 stars