> the Painted Man and his small troop of followers (for example Gull, whose mother was a wise woman and herbalist and was burnt as a witch)
> a man who is half swan, one of whose arms is a great white swan's wing; he lives alone by a lake in the forest
> a young man whose father was a druid and mother a sorcerer: he fits in nowhere
> a beautiful girl who is rejected by her family after she has been found with an unsuitable man
Second book of the Sevenwaters Trilogy
Ireland and Britain,
late 9th Century
Like the first book of this trilogy, Daughter of the Forest, this, the second, is long and begins slowly, but gradually becomes "unputdownable".
When the story opens, Sorcha, the Daughter of the Forest of the first book, is living in Sevenwaters with her husband Hugh, a Briton known in Ireland as Iubdal, and her three teenage children: Niamh, the eldest, a stunningly beautiful girl, tall with red hair, and the twins Sean and Liadan. Sean is being groomed to take over the estate should anything happen to his uncle, Liam, the present Lord, who has no son of his own. Liadan, the daughter who is most resembles Sorcha as she was when she was young, is the narrator:
I would catch Mother sometimes, looking at Niamh and looking at Sean and looking at me, and I knew what was troubling her. Sooner or later, the Fair Folk would decide it was time. Time to meddle in our lives again, time to pick up the half-finished tapestry and weave a few more twisted patterns in it. Which would they choose? Was one of us the child of the prophecy?
It is, of course, Liadan they choose, the Fair Folk, the mysterious Lady in blue and the Lord with flaming hair but they show no sympathy with her sister in her sufferings and nor do they approve of Liadan's love, so Liadan rejects their advice and warnings and orders and all their scheming, and turns instead to the Old Ones, the older folk, the voices in the burial mound, once banished by the incoming Fair Folk. After all, one of her ancestors, Eithne, was of the older folk, the Fomhoire, and it is from them that they (some of them, Sorcha and Liadan, at least) get "the Sight, the healing mind".
Magic pervades this book, as it did the first one. And like the first one, it is a great love-story, with a girl touched by magic as the long-suffering heroine who never gives up. If you enjoyed Daughter of the Forest, don't miss this.