The Swan Maiden ~ Jules Watson

swan_maidenShe was born with a blessing and a curse: that she would grow into a woman of extraordinary beauty—and bring ruin to the kingdom of Ulster and its ruler, the wily Conor. Ignoring the pleadings of his druid to expel the infant, King Conor secrets the girl child with a poor couple in his province, where no man can covet her. There, under the tutelage of a shamaness, Deirdre comes of age in nature and magic…. And in the season of her awakening, the king is inexorably drawn to her impossible beauty.

But for Deirdre, her fate as a man’s possession is worse than death. And soon the green-eyed girl, at home in waterfall and woods, finds herself at the side of three rebellious young warriors. Among them is the handsome Naisi. His heart charged with bitterness toward the aging king, and growing in love for the defiant girl, Naisi will lead Deirdre far from Ulster—and into a war of wits, swords, and spirit that will take a lifetime to wage.

The Swan Maiden is a beautiful and heartbreaking retelling of the Celtic myth of Deirdre of the Sorrows and the Sons of Usnech. With lush language and an eye for portraying the natural world, Watson captivates readers with the story of  three courageous young warriors and a woman who demands to be free. The Swan Maiden isn’t an easy read, tugging at your emotions with uncertainty and joy, but it lingers long after and is well worth the time it takes to immerse yourself in the land of Erin and its people.

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