The Sevenwaters Trilogy by Juliet Marillier.
The books are...
Daughter of the Forest
Son of the Shadows
Child of the Prophesy
I call this series fairy tales for grown-ups...this first book was published in 1999, and the series is based on the story of The Six Swans from Grimm's Fairy Tales. It has been re-told in many forms, including one by Hans Christian Andersen.
This book had me from "Hello!"
Marillier writes richly, leaving nothing to the imagination in her description of the countryside, the characters in this book and the variations on good and evil. Reading each page carefully, I could actually see the forest, feel the moss on the north side of the massive trees and walk the paths through the forest that the family have worn flat with their passing.
From cover to cover, each book stands alone as a book unto itself. Yet, woven together, the three books leave one breathless and spellbound, just the way a great fairy tale should. I felt 5 years old again, sitting on my Auntie Margaret's lap while she read me The Six Swans over and over again, until I fell asleep in her arms.
With grave hesitation, I chose the first book for my book club, because we have some members who have decidedly limited reading tastes. Anything outside of those comfortable boundaries causes their canoes to tip. So, I was more than a little skittish to present this book to them. Yet, they all loved it, and they all went out the very next day and bought the other 2 books in the series. So much for my hesitation being well-founded.
Read it, then read the next 2 books in the series.
Marillier has already written Heir to Sevenwaters. It will be published in November 2008 in Australia and New Zealand, the USA and Canada, and the UK.
She is currently writing Heart's Blood.
"In my story I sought the human dilemmas at the heart of the fairytale, for such tales have at their core the most wondrous and the harshest of human experience, the best and worst of human behaviour.
Honour, trust, courage, true love.
Treachery, betrayal, cowardice and hatred.
They amuse, shock and reassure us. They make us laugh and they make us cry.
Their innate truths touch a chord deep within us and they show how subtle are the margins between the tangible world and that which is ever present, but forever Other. Most importantly, they awaken in us a sense of wonder, a recognition of the mysterious patterns of being - the spiral dance of birth, death, rebirth." ~ The Author
I've not learned how to post a link on my blog, yet...so in the meantime, while I'm looking for the instructions, here's a great blog by and for authors~