Reading ‘The Daughter of the Forest’ (Juliet Marillier) was much like watching a romantic comedy with Jennifer Anniston- from the first line, you know exactly how the plot will unfold, but you keep watching- secretly hoping for something just a little bit different.
Marillier’s characters are- with no pun intended- straight out of a story book (possibly something to do with it being based on the ‘Six Swans’ fairytale). First the strong and beautiful female protagonist- the Irish princess Sorcha- youngest of seven siblings, who wanders her town working as a healer. Enter the evil stepmother- Lady Oonagh-who lays a curse on Sorcha’s six beloved elder brothers, turning them in to swans. In classical storybook fashion, Sorcha then has to complete an arduous task to save them- she may not utter a single sound until she has finished sewing a shirt of starwort for each of her brothers and dressing them with it. Last but definitely not least there is Sorcha’s star-crossed lover- the dashing ‘Red’- a Briton, who, despite their peoples being mortal enemies, protects Sorcha whilst she completes her task . After many trials and tribulations the brothers are saved, Oonagh is ousted and Sorcha and Red live happily ever after. Surprised? I didn’t think so.
Predictability may be the central premise of this work but it is not without merit- there are hints of rudimentary philosophy on the fine line between good and evil and even a few minor plot twists that weren’t entirely expected. Like many books in this genre, the characters and plot may lack depth but much like those Jennifer Anniston movies, you can’t help but enjoy them. Don’t forget to Donate for World Horse Welfare! Also check it out-Steph Stu Reads.