A guest post by Samantha Wurner.

When I was first asked to this blog, I was a little nervous. So many great books and authors to choose from, can I even limit it down? I thought long and hard about what I looked for in a book.  Adventure, check. Fantasy, check. Mystery and a little romance, but not based on just that, check. Political intrigue, check. But there are so many books out there that are like that, a lot I call favorites. A lot of authors can make all of these elements so magical that you just want to keep reading and not put the book down. So I sat down, long and hard. I didn’t even try to write this blog for a least a week after I was asked. It was too hard of a decision to make right off the bat. So I waited and I pondered.

What possibly could be my favorite author and my favorite book out of so many different books.  I mean there are so many different ones that I love to reread over and over again. However there was a name that came to me soon after I was asked to do this task and it is a name that fills my mind often when I think of a great book to reread. This person has been a personal favorite of mine for years. So much so that when I see a new book by this person I resist the urge to squeal in the bookstore like a giddy school girl. Juliet Mariller.

I fell in love with her writing the minute I started reading her Sevenwater’s Trilogy, that has now branched off into a whole world for the author and her faithful readers such as myself to enjoy and imagine yourself apart of. It is a world of magic and Fae, war and battles, political intrigue and a little romance. Granted most male readers out there would probably find it a little corny since it is in the perception of a female character and her emotions of the world around her but for me, I find it a perfect balance of being romantic without being a romance novel since the stories are never based solely on the relationship of two people but more the community itself and the struggles the heroine has to go through to get to the end goal or destination. Ms. Mariller is not only able to combine all my favorite aspects of books I look for when I read but also takes perfect classic fairy tales and turns them into something new and refreshing. For example, she took the famous story of the Seven Swans and turned in into a full novel of creativity and wonder was what caught my heart and intrigued me to want to know more about the clan that Severwaters gave home to and the trails the Druids and clan around Sevenwaters has to go through to keep their heritage but also move ahead in time with the era of magic and being isolated coming to an end.

My favorite book of hers probably has to be her first story that I mentioned above in the Sevenwaters world. The Daughter of the Forest which is based on the tale of Seven Swans that I mentioned above. It is a beloved Norse tale of six brothers who are turned into swans by their evil step mother who turns out to be an evil sorceress, who out of jealousy of her son, wants the other sons out of the way so that her son, the seventh son of the seventh son, may take his place as head of the clan and make them both more powerful. What the evil sorceress does not realize is that the daughter had stolen the hearts of the Fae and so did her family as they always respected the fae and their lands and lived in peace for so many generations. So when the Fae realized that the clans beloved brothers were turned into swans the people of the Fae gave the young sister a way to save her family. She had to make shirts for each one of her six brothers in six years otherwise they would be trapped as swans forever. It was not of course as simple as just sewing up some shirts, no they had to be made out of the poisoned plant which thorns cause immense pain and swelling of the hands and she could not make a sound during the entire seven years of making these shirts. Not a squeal of pain, not the sound of happy laughter until each and every one of her brothers had the shirts around their necks. The heroine goes through so much suffering but she gladly does it to save her family, from being raped and beaten, to finding love and friends, and never being able to express herself to them in order to save her family. Ms. Mariller gives life to this young woman through determination and strength to get through what life throws at her in order to protect the family she loves so much. Of course Mariller definitely gives the story some leeway as she connects England with Ireland making it a historical fantasy but keeping to the original story of the seven swans.

The Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Mariller combines everything that I love about reading, witty characters, in depth story that is combined with the real struggles of life and combining them with the mystery and excitement of fantasy and fairy tales. I do not know if I can explain why exactly her books resonate with me so much except that I feel her writing in my heart and soul and not just enjoy them intellectually. I feel like I could go on forever on these books but then I would be talking more about the actually story detail of these books and why I love each detail instead of writing why I love these books on a whole. The only way I can finish this and sum it all up is they are magical and with every word they bring that magic to life. Any book that can make a world appear in someone’s mind and make them cherish it for years to come afterwards in my mind is something special, no matter what genre it is.

Well I think my rant is done, and thank you everyone for reading! It has been a joy to write this guest blog. Until next time.

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