Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Author Recommendation: Juliet Marillier

Who here loves Juliet Marillier? Raise your hands! A lot of you, I'm sure, are happy to see that name come up here, filled with the warm glow of recognition when you see one of your favorite things come up somewhere in the vastness that is the internet. (Admit it, there's a warm glow.)

Starting with one of my absolute favorite books of all times -- an adaptation of one of my very favorite fairy tales:

Daughter of the Forest

Daughter of the Forest is, I want to say, a fairly close representation of The Wild Swans, although Marillier has taken liberties where they fit the story. Set in ancient Ireland, the story is fleshed out with details of the small domain of Sevenwaters, Celtic lore, and early Christian tradition, blending in a beautiful way. Sorcha is the youngest child and only daughter of the Lord of Sevenwaters, who remarries. His new wife turns to sorcery to eliminate his other children, and place her own son as heir. The brothers are turned to swans, and it is up to Sorcha to save them, and herself, from danger both human and supernatural.


Wolfskin is not as direct a translation of a particular fairy tale, but blends elements of Viking and Orkney mythology. Cultures clash, brotherhood is tested, and love is gained and lost... and perhaps gained again? I don't want to say too much, but there are some beautiful mythological elements, and for those of you who know the Singing Bone/Singing Harp fairy tale, there is a nice inclusion.

Wildwood Dancing

Wildwood Dancing is another beautifully complex piece in Marillier's mythology. This story of five sisters is taken from (have you guessed it yet) The 12 Dancing Princesses. (I guess 12 were too many even for Marillier to wrap her talented story telling around.) From their home in Piscul Dracului in Romania (but don't worry, no sparkly vampires), the girls discover a secret entrance into the Other Kingdom, where they must battle for love and wisdom.

All three of these are counted among my favorite books. Marillier not only retells some of my favorite stories, but she does so with a graceful prose that is hard to come by. Her stories are accessible without the dismissal of the beauty of language I see in a lot of modern fiction. Her captivating writing brings me back to her work as often as her subject matter.


That's right, more. Each of the books above has at least one sequel, so, although she doesn't directly translate other fairy tales in their respective series, she does allow us to continue to dwell in her wonderfully crafted worlds. So if you like those, don't worry, there's more to read after that.

Her website is here, with news and information about upcoming projects.

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