This starts out very slowly, with way too much emphasis placed on the backstory of other characters from the Sevenwaters series, even though this novel could really stand alone. However, the remainder of the tale is satisfying. The young protagonist Sibeal is smart and capable, while still facing the choices of any young woman, she is also trained as a druid and mature beyond her years. Felix is a well-drawn character who manages to avoid becoming a cliché with deft strokes of realism. Although Marillier sometimes overdoes the florid language, this novel is definitely worth a read.

Sibeal has completed her training as a druid for Sevenwaters, and all that remains is to take her vows. When her mentor suggests that she take time away before the last ceremonies to really consider this decision, Sibeal is more frustrated than pleased at the prospect of a vacation. However, the island where her sisters have settled with their husbands is never a dull place, and on her very first day there, Sibeal witnesses a disturbing storm that sweeps a ship against the cliffs of the island. The three survivors pulled out of the water all have secrets to hide and stories to tell, and the fate of more than one islander remains in the hands of their honesty — and their enmity. (ROC, Dec., 400 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Victoria Frerichs