The Swan Maiden is a novel based on the Irish legend of "Deirdre of the Sorrows", written by J.M. Synge. When Deirdre was a babe, the druid Cathbad prophesied that she would grow into a great beauty and bring about the downfall of their land. Ignoring requests that the babe be killed, the King of the Ulaids, Conor decides to hide the child with plans to marry her when she becomes of age. Conor enlists the help of Levercham, who teaches Dierdre the ways of the Druids. Attempts to dissuade Conor from his mission of marrying Deirdre fail time and again, much to Levercham's dismay. When Dierdre hears of this, she can no longer wait around, being fattened up like a pig for the day when Conor comes to collect her. She runs away and crosses paths with three brothers, Red Branch soldiers famous for their fighting skills, and they decide to help her. When Conor hears that Deirdre has fled and who she is with, he is beyond furious and pulls no stops to get her back. Naisi and Deirdre eventually fall in love and despite the brothers' aching for home and their fellow Red Branch soldiers, they find a place of their own and settle in (for a while at least). They are found and persuaded home with the promises of forgiveness, only to be betrayed by their King, again. The rest you should read for yourself, I don't want to give it all away!
I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book!!! See, I even put three exclamation points after that sentence, just to make sure you grasp the emotion! Ha!
What I really enjoyed about The Swan Maiden was the way Jules writes about the connection with nature and animals that Deirdre feels. She describes scenes and it's like you're there (or at least you really, really want to be). I could even stomach the hunting scenes which I usually skim over. So many descriptive words come to mind when I think about this book - mythical, surreal, spiritual, magical, echanting. And the love between Deirdre and Naisi...aaahhh pure magic....the connection they have with each other is so powerful and Jules writes it so well!!
Readers you are in for a treat with this one, you will not want to put it down! Thanks to Jules Watson for sharing such a wonderful story with me, one that I'll remember for a long time!
Stay tuned, Jules Watson will be here soon for an interview!