I was eleven years old when I stumbled upon a display at my local library that contained both Daughter of the Forest and the newly published Son of the Shadows. At the time my reading palate consisted entirely of Harry Potter and historical romance novels. And yes, I do mean romance novels. Like the really bad kind, the kind that my friends and I would read out loud to each other as we hid under the blankets with a flashlight at sleepovers because we couldn’t get over how gross and silly it all sounded. I can’t say what initially drew me to Daughter of the Forest, but I do know that I ended up picking both of the books up because there was a review from the Romantic Times on the book which praised it as being “surprisingly romantic.” I can’t know my eleven year old mind, not entirely, but I can be certain that this review is the reason I decided to give your books a shot.
At 3 am that same night I was awake in my bedroom, pacing back and forth, talking myself through everything that had happened, everything that could happen, and wondering how in the world Daughter of the Forest could possibly have a happy ending and why anyone would call it romantic. Earlier in the day I’d been deeply traumatized by early events in the book but had persevered with that promise of romance, and had somehow become so entirely engrossed in the tale that it wasn’t until the infamous burning day that it even occurred to me that I might not actually be reading a romance novel.
The sleep I lost that night finishing Sorcha’s journey was absolutely worth it, and I ordered the soon-to-be-published Child of the Prophecy before I even started Son of the Shadows. Since then I have been an avid follower of yours, pre-ordering each book as soon as the pre-order becomes available, and even ordering some books (such as Foxmask) from Australia since the US edition would be released nearly a year after its Australian counterpart.
Daughter of the Forest is the first book, aside from Harry Potter, that I absolutely lost myself in. It sparked my love of the fantasy genre and encouraged me to broaden my reading and writing horizons. But what always gets me about it (and most of your books, honestly), is that no matter how many times I read it I still have the same overwhelming tide of emotions that absolutely stunned eleven-year-old me. My first copy of Daughter of the Forest is filled with post-it notes and the cover on it has long since fallen off from fifteen years of love and avid use. When I read it again several months ago, for what is likely the 500th time, I still cried at some of my favorite parts, still felt that intense need to finish it, to see the story through, to find out what happens next even though I could probably quote the thing line-by-line at this point.
Sorcha and her story marked the beginning of a lot of things for me, and I love that she was the beginning of your writing journey as well. Thank you so much for bringing her to the world, and to my world. Thank you for years of intense love and joy, and for every story you’ve written since then. I never hesitate to name you as my favorite author, and I am grateful every day for that one Romantic Times review which brought you to my life.
Many thanks and all the love,
Rebecca (aka your actual biggest fan)