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  • Daughter of the Forest

  • Sevenwaters, Book 1
  • Written by: Juliet Marillier
  • Narrated by: Terry Donnelly
  • Length: 26 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Daughter of the Forest

Written by: Juliet Marillier
Narrated by: Terry Donnelly
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Publisher's Summary

Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives and they are determined that she know only contentment. But Sorcha's joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift - by staying silent.

If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever. When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs that she will never able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all....

©2000 Juliet Marillier (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Daughter of the Forest

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loved it

took a little while to get used to the narrator, but by the end I was hooked on this beautiful tale. ended up truly a fan of the narrator as well as the author.

1 person found this helpful

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Great fairy tale

I enjoyed this book when I was younger and read it on paper, and I enjoyed it just as much as an audiobook. However, while the narration is fantastic, I would STRONGLY recommend increasing the speed (I had mine at about 1.3). The book itself is rich in world and relationship building and as such is quite long, and the narrator's style is very slow, deliberate, and full of long pauses. At normal speed I found it frustratingly slow.

1 person found this helpful

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Daughter of the forest

Beautiful tale! This had me in tears, made me angry, brought me smiles and fear. I shared Sorcha's feelings and could feel what she felt. this had been my favorite book for years. it is a very magical tale and fabulously written.

1 person found this helpful

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My favorite fantasy series of all time

Highly suggested if you love historical fantasy romance. Juliet Marilier paints beautiful pictures of the enchanted forests of old Ireland. Deep emotions and tragedies. Very lovable support characters.

I love that the narrator is irish, but she made Sorcha sound whiner than she should be. But her voice was full of emotion for this tragic tale.

1 person found this helpful

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This is my favorite book

As I'm sure most can appreciate it can be hard to pick a favorite book when you love reading and it took me many, many years but this book is incredible and every time I read it, I love it more. Listening to the audio version was amazing. I loved learning how to finally pronounce their names properly! The flow of the audio book was perfect too.

1 person found this helpful

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Best novels always and forever!

Not to be missed each one as good as the first & better than the last. Can be enjoyed more than once or twice ♡

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Incredible!

This is everything you can hope for in a fantasy that mixes legends with the history of ancient Ireland. Brilliant writing, excellent pacing, magical and suspenseful, with a heart wrenching theme of family love and loyalty and a gripping love story all in one, this is a perfect book and I loved everything about it.

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  • barefoot rabbit
  • 2013-09-09

Compelling story--but only at 1.5x

Trust me when I say that if you don't listen to this book via the Audible app so that you can speed it up to 1.5 (and 2.0 when the villain gives a creepy lecture), you'll either give up quickly or else want to tear your hair out before long. The narrator's dragging, snoozey pace and melodramatic, drawn-out wail will make you want to throw things.

HOWEVER: If you speed it up, she'll sound quite normal! Before I did so, I was hitting myself for not just buying the paper book. But after a few chapters of misery, I thought I'd try out the various speeds and settled with 1.5x...and then suddenly, I was listening to an honestly compelling story.

This is an elaborate retelling of an old fairytale made painfully, intricately human and present. It's no lighthearted fare, and far from a YA tone or style. Sadly, it probably won't attract as many male readers as it should since the main character is a young woman--even though her six brothers factor strongly into the story as characters you come to know well, and even though this is *hardly* a soppy romance (it's anything but that). It's brutal enough--and emotionally complex enough that instead, I wouldn't suggest this if you want a light fantasy adventure for your commute. It's character-driven by far and nothing comes tied up in bows. Hard times and more hard times. No easy answers and no easy justice.

My main criticism would be that it's overlong with its explication and is at times redundant, but that's why I'd say it's a good choice for an audiobook. If you listen at the speed I Forcefully Recommend, you'll probably only have brief moments when you wish she'd move forward, whereas I imagine otherwise skimming long paragraphs in a book while feeling you're missing something.

Overall, this is a very thoughtful, well-told story that gripped me on many levels. Not sure if I'll continue with the series, but there's goodness in that too, especially in the context of today's publishing world of cheaply-plotted, hurriedly dashed-off first-draft trilogies that make you buy at least three books to get any resolution. This is a stand-alone book that doesn't leave you empty or require you to soldier on to find a satisfying conclusion. Recommended for anyone who knows what they're getting into!

77 people found this helpful

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  • Miachi
  • 2015-11-01

Glad I didn't give up on this book

I almost stopped listening after the first couple hours. The narrator is way too gusty and melodramatic, and pacing overall is slow. Then I checked the reviews and saw a few people recommending 1.25x and 1.5x speed. Unfortunately 1.5x was too garbled for me to understand (I think it was the rougher accents that got clipped), but 1.25x brought it up to a normal speaking pace, which was bearable.

To add to that advice, you should be liberal with the 30 second skip button. When the main character starts dreaming of her home or her family, she can go on and on and on and on, and we've heard it all before. Skip skip skip.

My rating is actually more like a 3.5 given my manual intervention, but I have to be honest - I got hooked somewhere in the middle, so I'm rounding up to a 4. Just don't be afraid to skip ahead a minute or two (especially during the antagonist's diatribes)!

65 people found this helpful

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  • MissSusie66
  • 2013-09-27

One of my All-Time Favorites

This was a re-read of one of my all-time favorite fantasy books and I have to tell you I loved it just as much the second time through as I did the first and listening to the audio version only enhanced my love of it.

I still loved the characters of Sorcha & Red, this whole story is so beautifully written, Juliet Marillier is such a fabulous writer!

I thoroughly enjoyed this fairytale re-telling (The Wild Swans by, Hans Christian Andersen), this is not a story for the faint of heart, just a warning there is a rape scene, and this love story which to me is so secondary to Sorcha’s quest is chaste and doesn’t overpower the book at all. Sorcha’s quest will break your heart and it amazed me still even on re-reading/listening what a great strong woman she was.

I enjoyed the “magical” elements the Fair Folk and the Druids it all seems so normal and everyday that you totally believe these people truly lived in this time.


This was my first time listening to Terry Donnelly as a narrator at first I wasn’t sure about her because I was expecting more of an Irish accent from the characters at Sevenwaters but she really grew on me and I was enrapt with the book by the end and was very happy with her narration, I thought she put just the right amount of venom in the Uncle Richard’s voice. I see she narrates another one later in the series and I look forward to it and would definitely listen to this narrator again.

As I said I love Juliet Marillier’s writing she knows how to weave a tale so well that you believe every word. If you are a fan of the quest type fantasy give this series a try.

Still 5 Stars

62 people found this helpful

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  • B. Smith
  • 2020-08-21

Ridiculous and depressing, even for fantasty

***This review includes spoilers and a trigger warning***

I often read fantasy series, but this book was a huge letdown. I did listen to the book in its entirety, but will not be reading any further. Although the story is depressing and not historically accurate, those are not the things that caused me to disregard finishing the series. The main character is in her early teens and, for no reason at all, the author describes in detail her gang rape. It had nothing to do with the storyline and makes no difference overall. I find it very unacceptable that authors continue to have female characters raped as if this is necessary for their growth as a person/character, especially when it has nothing at all to do with the story. In addition, the end of the story has a very quick turn of events into a "happily ever after", which also made no sense; this "happy" ending provides no relief for the depressing story and completely disregards all the suffering. The characters are told that all the suffering was for the sole purpose of ensuring two characters marry and love each other (with the female character being just 16 years old), and very few details are provided to explain what happens to all the brothers. It is beyond unbelievable, even for a fantasy series, that this very long story full of death and suffering for so many characters was all just to ensure a 16 year old girl could find love and marry, and then toss all these other characters and subplots aside. I regret having spent so much time listening to this book and wish I would have skipped it.

32 people found this helpful

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  • Veritas
  • 2014-05-15

Daughter of the Forest

I put off buying this book because I thought it would just be another fairy tale retold. I bought it in an Audible Sale and it is nice to know I was wrong. The series is wonderful. Magic, twists and turns. Very well done. The narrator is very good! I plan to listen to the remainder of the series.

21 people found this helpful

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  • B. Reid
  • 2014-02-17

My gratitude for this work of art!

In a stroke of serendipity, I happened upon this trilogy as a consequence of Audible's recent promotional introduction of new series. What a delightful discovery!

I am still enjoying part three of the first book, and I can anticipate that I will be very sad when I finish the last part of the final book (but I can also anticipate that this is a series that will warrant another listen, or two). I have been thoroughly engaged from the start, and unlike so many other audiobooks I have tried, I can find NOTHING to criticize.

I think any revered author would enjoy the opportunity to explore the imagination and linguistic prowess of Juliet Marillier, and any listener would be entranced by the voice, emotional emphasis, and cadence of Terry Donnelly!

I have not read or listened to any of this author’s other works yet, but from this story, I feel I know something about her that I love. The characters in this book are like phrases from a piece of music with every note in its perfect place. They, and the scenes in which they exist are beautiful and memorable.

The narrator has added a significant contribution to the experience for me, which so often is not the case. I have so many times been able to recognize an author’s talent, but been prevented from enjoying it because the narrator distracts from it to some degree. Not so here. As I eventually look to explore more stories from Juliet Marillier, they will be even more compelling if Terry Donnelly is again chosen to read them!

I could go on to say more, but I will simply end by offering my recommendation that if you decide to try this book, you will likely rejoice the credit and time you spent to do so!


17 people found this helpful

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  • Leslie
  • 2015-08-01

Couldn't turn it off

Read the reviews, checked out the sample of narration, and dove in. I found this book unpredictable and suspenseful. I devoured it in 4 days.

A couple of other reviews criticized the narrator's pace, which I had no issue with. It was as though she were telling the story to me, rather than just reading it. I found her pace seductive rather than a source of irritation. Her characters, male and female alike, were pitch perfect. Her accents were also authentic. ( You'll know what I mean if you ever get stuck in a book with an American narrator trying to "do" English/Irish accents and succeeding not at all. This is not one of those narrators). Highly recommend this book.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Gilmara Lima Mendes
  • 2014-09-08

Great heard at 1.25x or even 1.5x

This is a fantastic book, and I am sure it will stay close to my heart.
This is the story of a girl, Sorcha, whose sacrifice freed her brothers from a dark spell, but until you get to that part, you will feel as if suffering every minute.
She and her six brothers live in a place called Sevenwaters, and each brother has a role on this tale. Her mother died 6 hours after giving birth to her, but their resemblance to one another is uncanny. Maybe that's the reason why her father hardly ever speaks or pays attention to her.
One day Lord Collum, the father, decides to get married, and that's where the story changes. It is not just the beautiful stepmother getting in the way, for she is a witch, and she wishes to bear a child so this child can inherit Sevenwaters, and she will stop at nothing to accomplish this task. So, she casts a spell on the 6 brothers and turns them into swans, but Sorcha gets to run away, and so a life of agony, suffering and pain begins.
There are parts where you just have to speed the ap to 1.5x, such is the agony! Don't get me wrong, for the narrator is good, but it feels like the story is dragging along, and if you can do something about it, speed up the ap.
There is also a love story building up, very slowly, and it later gets to be the hook of the book :)

If you like tales and fantastic stories, you will like this one.

15 people found this helpful

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  • GLENNO
  • 2014-10-29

Overly-detailed but good

This book could have been much shorter and it would not have lost anything. I'd say around 20% shorter. There is way too much detail about her early life.

Having said that, Juliet Marillier is a great writer and weaves her tale deftly, if a little too verbosely. I did very much like the characters and her prose is almost poetic at times. That fits because the book is really a sort of extended fairy tale and that, in this case, is a good thing.

Terry Donnelly is a great reader for all of the characters and is especially good when portraying the evil ones. I always appreciate when female readers can portray male characters without making them sound like teenage boys. She does a great job here, no problem.

But now that I found out that the sequel is not about her and her immediate family but really more about her son, I'm less interested in getting the sequel. I grew to like these characters and wanted to experience more of their lives.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-04-01

Magic and Misery

Nearly 27 hours of magic and misery, mostly misery. I kept listening, hoping for redemption and joy but it never came. Though the happy end is completely predictable; it lacks the detailed description of the dark side of this tale. The author doesn't need foreshadowing: each time there's a chance for something good to happen, it turns out that something terrible and cruel ensues. The pattern is repeated ad infinitum. Except for the fact that this is a series, I half expected her to kill off her protagonist instead of saving her from the pyre. No more Marillier for me.

9 people found this helpful