May 07, 2014

The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Forest House is the second book in the Avalon series, coming after Mists of Avalon, but actually preceding it in the timeline. 

It tells of the time just after the slaughter of Mona, when the priestesses were confined and controlled by the druids in a small complex in the woods.  Rome was still in charge and a rebellion was rising up against them.  So when Eilan, a girl born of a druid family, falls in love with a half Roman half British man, their love is denied and she enters the Forest House to be a priestess instead.  But fate has bigger plans for her and because of one night of passion, she'll have to form large secrets that could come back to haunt her later.

Eilan is ok.  I never really feel like we actually know her.  We know some of her desires, but the larger part of her thoughts are kept from us.  Her assistant we actually know better and was in many ways a stronger woman.  She also seemed to have the best interests of everyone at heart as compared to Eilan.  Dieda, Eilan's cousin, I could have done without.  She was spiteful and didn't really add anything to the story except to be a source of contention, and even then she was never a real threat.  And then there were the Druids.  What a sad lot this group was.  I couldn't find a redeeming quality in any of them.

The plot moved slowly on this book as well.  I normally like Bradley's detail, but in this case it just kept the book from progressing.  Well, when it wasn't jumping through time in fits and starts.  It would be nothing to spend quite a few chapters on a particular timeline and then all of a sudden have it be four years later.  All that being said, it was interesting to hear about the times before the Mists of Avalon, and how the Priestesses were treated differently.  It is amazing to think how easily one group can be controlled by another, even though it's something that happens in the real world every day.

I can't say this was a wonderful book.  It had some history that was interesting, but that was it.  Mists of Avalon was far better.

The Forest House
Copyright 1993
417 pages

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