Monday, November 30, 2009


I have a special place in my heart for great mystery and great fantasy. Thank you Shelli for giving me yet another amazing fantasy adventure to indulge in! I absolutely loved this novel and totally lost myself in Sorcha's adventure.

First off, I appreciated that the story line stoically continued through time. In so many fairy tales, the evil sorceress casts her spell upon our hero and we fast forward through seven years of living as a frog prince or oak tree until the spell can finally be broken-- like in the bible when Jacob agrees to work 7 years for his Rachel and is tricked into marrying Leah, afterwards giving another 7 years of service for his beloved. 14 years of toil for the one he loves and we get it in a matter of verses! I loved that we didn't skip a single moment of Sorcha's long journey to free her brothers.

I appreciated the questions Shelli put to us to aid us with our reading. One I thought about most particularly was in regards to the dependable characters and what makes them such. Sorcha was definitely dependable. Not only did she keep absolute silence for YEARS, she did so while being raped, one of the vilest and cruelest things that could possibly be done to a woman. And even after feeling abandoned by her brothers at this terrible time, she still kept her vow of silence to save their lives. THEN (as if all that wasn't enough to warrant a breach of silence), Sorcha's remains silent despite the rumors and unkindness that are spread in response to her mysterious actions. I would be dying to tell just one person "Hey look! This is why I'm weaving these crazy shirts out of thorns, okay? So back off!" But Sorcha takes it all. What a strong woman! Red was another dependable character. He was always there for Sorcha when she needed him, protecting her, providing for her, and loving her. At the very instant the fire beings to lick at Sorcha's feet, Red arrives home from his long journey, takes an arrow for her, and saves her from death. What a man!

I definitely think that dependable characters such as Red and Sorcha are possible today, but they are much harder to come by. Society tells us constantly that life is all about self-service-- it's hard to find dependability in a world that only looks out for number one. However, I am grateful to have one such dependable person in my life. My husband is always there when I need him- never once has he been absent during difficult circumstances. When I gave birth to my daughter, he was there holding my hand during every contraction. And when my father passed away just 3 months ago, all I had to do was send my husband a text message at work telling him that I needed him. He was already out the door, in the car, and on the way home before he even called to ask me what was wrong. I want to have that kind of never-failing character.

I appreciated so many other aspects of this book that provided deep thought as well as entertainment:
- the insight into the Atonement
-the bonds within families
-the danger of our prejudices
-forgiveness of others
-letting go of our fathers' opinions and creating our own
-gifts of the spirit (every sibling had a special and unique gift- it made me wonder what mine is!)

Bravo, Shelli! A fabulous novel and one that I MUST own!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Questions I ponder while reading this book:

  1. Conor is capable of seeing the true motives and reasonings behind others' actions. What does Conor's character teach us about judgments?
  2. How are Christianity and the kind of spirituality Sorcha's family practices similar?
  3. Sorcha's people are so close to the forest ... the trees, plants, and animals. What does respecting nature mean to you? Does nature bring you closer to God?
  4. Why are the traditions of the fathers so capable of fostering resentment and hatred? Who - if any of them - are right? Are they all wrong?
  5. Would you allow your sibling to make Sorcha's sacrifice for you? Does it change the way you view the Atonement?
  6. Marillier paints her characters' personalities exceptionally well, I think. Which character do you relate with most in the story and why?
  7. Doesn't it just kill you that Sorcha can't talk?? What would you most yearn to say if you were unable to speak? Do you think it would change the way you thought or listened when you knew you couldn't respond?
  8. What makes the dependable characters dependable? Is that kind of character possible now? Do you know others who are so trustworthy?
  9. What are the dangers in judging an entire race (or gender) solely by our experiences? Do we miss out on opportunities that way?
  10. What does this book make you think about?