It’s been eighteen years, and Sorcha’s daughter Liadan senses something amiss at Imbolc, the festival of new beginnings. She doesn’t know why or how; only that a dark, ominous cloud hangs over her parents on what would otherwise be a day of celebration with all appearing to be well at home. Liadan’s twin brother Sean has fallen in love with suitable Aisling from the neighboring Marshes and her beautiful older sister Niamh will surely make a loving yet advantageous match. From Liam, Sean is learning the skills to manage the estate and attract political allies on their way to making a stand against the British. Liadan is content to learn the healer’s touch from her mother and stay close to Sevenwaters for the time being. Perhaps her misgivings are false. But when her uncle Conor, now archdruid confirms her fears, Liadan still couldn’t have predicted the ironic fate her family is dealt and how it will take her away from Sevenwaters and into the band of the notorious Painted Man. As she comes to find the nameless man, whom she calls Bran not totally unsympathetic, the Fair Folk couldn’t be less pleased at Liadan’s strong will to defy their wishes. She realizes it may not be possible, but Liadan intends to both keep the ones she loves and claim the sacred islands back from the British.
I didn’t think it was possible, but the second book in the Sevenwaters trilogy more than stands up to Daughter of the Forest. The complex plot, rich world-building, and strong but flawed characters in Son of the Shadows completely allayed my previous doubts that a book without a focus on Sorcha and Red couldn’t measure up. Even though some reviewers think Liadan is perfect, it is her dogged persistence that is both her flaw and her strength. In the face of overwhelming odds and perilous consequences Liadan refuses to lower the high standards she’s set for her life and her happiness, and she’s my hero for that. Her relationship with Bran is even harder-won than her mother’s and felt so legitimate and well-deserved I loved it. Very rewarding. Bran truly drew the short end of the stick and has paid for it but I understand and root for him. It was also such a thrill and comfort to see how my favorite characters from the first book are faring. Loving this series! I’m a believer in the land of Erin and the Fair Folk and Sevenwaters. I’ve started a favorite authors of all-time list and the first name on it is Juliet Marillier.