Picking up this last (or most recent) book in Juliet Marillier's much loved Sevenwaters series, I was totally geared up for a much desired in-depth look at Laiden and Bran's son (from Son of the Shadows) Johnny. As I started reading and found out, no, this is his cousin's Clodagh story, I sorta scratched my head and felt a little cheated. Boy howdy, was I ever wrong about being disappointed. (Of course) Clodagh's story was sublime, beautiful and probably my favorite so far. I should simply be grateful for any story Marillier tells and stop having expectations because frankly, any story she writes comes out magic.
In the midst of her six sisters, Clodagh is happy to be known as the 'domestic' one, usually to be found helping her mother organize and run the Sevenwaters household. So it's natural that she fills this role as her mother becomes ill with an unexpected pregnancy late in life. Her mother, Aisling, is convinced she carries the long awaited male heir she has previously failed to deliver. Clodagh and her family are anxious for their mother's health but when the baby is born and is taken suddenly from their home while Clodagh was keeping watch, suspicion and hurt abound as everyone is devastated by his disappearance. Clodagh alone is convinced that the baby was not stolen by a rival clansmen for political gain but by the Fair Folk and so she sets off on a perilous journey to bring him back. Not alone, Clodagh is accompanied by the prickly Cathal, one of Johnny's painted men, who she is stumped as to why he would 1) not only believe her tale but 2) be willing to help her accomplish her goal as he has been nothing but rude to her. Cathal has his own secrets (more than your average painted man's) and it quickly becomes apparent to Clodagh that she can't succeed without his help.
Clodagh and Cathal's story was exactly what I wanted even though I wasn't expecting it. Clodagh is resourceful, stubbornly loyal, and so compassionate I couldn't help but love her as she faced impossible challenges. At one point even her own family distrusts her and she never stops loving or trusting them even though their coldness has devastated her. After reading this unexpected book I find myself hoping Marillier has plans to revisit Sevenwaters again. In the near future, that is. Please hurry.
series reading order:
~ Daughter of the Forest - my review
~ Son of the Shadows - my review
~ Child of the Prophecy - my review
~ Heir to Sevenwaters