Daughter of the Forest

Sevenwaters Book 1

First published in 1999, Daughter of the Forest is loosely based on the traditional story of The Six Swans, which appears in Grimm's Fairy Tales and has been re-told in many versions, including one by Hans Christian Andersen.

In Daughter of the Forest, the fairy tale story - a youngest sister must maintain complete silence while weaving shirts from nettles in order to return her swan brothers to human form - is combined with a family drama set on both sides of the Irish Sea. More than anything, this is a story about the bond of love between siblings.

Author's Note

The framework for Daughter of the Forest is a Germanic tale, The Six Swans, from the collection of the Grimm brothers. Beneath the classic fairytale elements (a wicked stepmother, a transformation, a trial by silence) is a story of courage born from loss, and lives forever altered. With its swan imagery and its remote forest setting, the Germanic story settles easily into the Irish landscape and may indeed even owe something to the Celtic tradition, a major influence on European folktales from the thirteenth century onwards. The Children of Lir, the tale of Aengus Og and his swan-bride, these are Irish myths in which child turns to swan and swan to beautiful maiden, in the space of an eye blink.

In my story I sought the human dilemmas at the heart of the fairytale, for such tales have at their core the most wondrous and the harshest of human experience, the best and worst of human behaviour. Honour, trust, courage, true love. Treachery, betrayal, cowardice and hatred. They amuse, shock and reassure us, They make us laugh and they make us cry. Their innate truths touch a chord deep within us and they show how subtle are the margins between the tangible world and that which is ever present, but forever Other. Most importantly, they awaken in us a sense of wonder, a recognition of the mysterious patterns of being - the spiral dance of birth, death, rebirth.


Winner of Le Prix Imaginales for best novel in translation (2010)
Winner of the American Library Association's Alex Award (2001)
Finalist in the Aurealis Awards, recognising the achievements of Australian science fiction and fantasy writers (1999)
Finalist in the RWA (Romance Writers of Australia) Award for Romantic Novel of the Year (2000)

See all of Juliet's Awards


Australia: Pan Macmillan
Brazil: Editora Butterfly
France: L'Atalante
Germany: Droemer Knaur
Italy: Armenia
Netherlands: Luitingh-Sijthoff
Portugal: Bertrand
Spain: Edhasa
United Kingdom: Voyager
United States: Tor

Listen to an excerpt from the Audible.com audiobook on the Media page.