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Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Pages: 535

Copyright: 2009

Rating 5 Crowns

There are books that you add to your TBR Pile as ‘maybe reads’, books that you add as ‘should reads’ and books that you add as ‘must reads’. For me, this book instantly went to my ‘must reads’ list the moment I read our lovely Marquise of Mischief’s review on her personal blog Passages to the Past. Amy’s enthusiasm combined with the gorgeous cover and intriguing premise grabbed me – I was hooked even before I read the first chapter.

Opening the book last week, I had really high expectations of the tale and all off them were exceeded. Not only do you easily slip into Iron Age Ireland but the magical element of the book wraps around you until you forget your reading a retelling of a famous myth. I loved Deidre and her story so much that I wish they were real. I’d happily adopt this historical fantasy as historical fact!

I know this is a cliché used in historical reviews all the time but Jules Watson really does breathe life into this legend. Most importantly though, she transforms it into something of her own making – creating Deidre the way she believed her to be and revealing a courage and spirited nature that has been suppressed in the original legends. Deidre appeals to the spirituality within me by resisting her fate and finding hope deep within herself and her connection to the natural world.

The love story between Deidre and Naisi is just gorgeous too. It’s powerful and you won’t be able to come through reading it without feeling moved. It’ll grip your heart and won’t let go till the last page!

Jules really does have an amazing talent for drawing emotions out of her readers and this book left me feeling deeply inspired. Thanks to Amy, she has another lifelong fan in me.

I added this to my must read pile in April and I am so glad I did. Now I’m strongly suggesting you do the same! If you’re a fan of Historical Fantasy, you can’t afford to be without Jules and her marvelous books. Bookmark it, order it, leave a comment here if you’d like to win it but make sure you get your hands on it! And no, you can’t borrow my copy :-P

We asked author Jules which Royal person from history she'd like to be and why. Here's her response:

I simply cannot go past Cleopatra. She is unlike any other female figure in history - in that she's a power in her own right at the heart of world-changing events. She was highly cultured and educated, spoke many languages and apparently had oodles of charisma, being an outstanding conversationalist.

To take all that - the alpha female par excellence - and then have her embroiled in this dramatic love story with Mark Antony - it's just too intriguing for words. She even chose the manner of her own death and so retained her dignity - what a woman! She strikes me as fearless and bold, and I am drawn by that. I would also love to know how it felt to be so cultured, to live at the epicentre of one of the world's greatest empires, where the library of Alexandria had gathered together all the writings of the known world. I think that interests me much more than the love story!!

About Jules Watson:
Lucky Jules may have grown up in Australia but she now lives in Argyll, Scotland with her Scottish husband!!! Jealousy aside, this has no doubt wonderful inspiration for a historical fantasy author. Jules has written 4 Celtic novels including the epic Dalriada trilogy. Her latest book, The Swan Maiden, will be followed by a related novel, The Raven Queen in 2010.

You can visit Jules at her website - it's full of lots of goodies! It must also be said that she is one of the friendliest authors I've ever corresponded with. She really is just so lovely.

REMEMBER if you live in the US you can win a copy of Jules Watson's The Swan Maiden by leaving a comment here before 31st August. All comments on posts this week also gain you an additional entry!

Princess of the Past


dolleygurl said...

I was intrigued by the book just by the cover. After reading your review I really can't wait to read this. Thanks for the review!

Marg said...

I totally loved this book when I read it earlier this year!

Shawna said...

Shawna Lewis

Oh thanks so very much for the chance to win this book!!!
I love the cover of this book it is amazing!!
Winks & Smiles ;o)

ibeeeg said...

I've had this book on my TBR pile for a bit now. Actually, it is on my 2009 TBR Challenge list.
After reading your review, I must read this book sooner than later.

Loved the author's comment about Cleopatra. I am not certain I would want to be Cleopatra but she is intriguing.

Jennifer said...

I am so glad I signed up for a chance to win a copy of this novel. The review makes it sound like a definite page turner!

dorolerium said...

Wow, this sounds really interesting, I'm definitely going to add it to my TBR pile! I love your reviews, btw :)

Elena said...

I loved The Swan Maiden too. Gorgeous cover art, a fascinating story, historical basis/legend...

What more could you ask for?

Juju said...

This sounds goood.
I would love to win! :)


Teddyree said...

A lovely, lovely review Annie, I'm gonna check out The Book Depository, since you're keeping this one all to your self LOL

Annie - Princess of the Past said...

Marg & Elena wasn't it great? Glad you loved it too!

Dolleygurl, Shawna, Jennifer, Dorolerium and Juju - You should definitely add this to your TBR pile. Good luck in the giveaway!

Ibeeeg, I hope you get to this one soon.

Teddyree, I think I could probably make an exception and lend it to you but you're going to want your own copy!

K said...

Great review
Added this to my list

tetewa said...

Please included me, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com