Priestess of the Forest: A druid Journey
by Ellen Evert Hopman
Llewellyn, 350pp, PB
reviewed by John Canard
This is a historical fantasy novel set in the 3rd century CE, in an Ireland which is starting to feel the influence of the Christian expansion through Europe. The plot and style are both reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon, though not in a bad way. The book is an enjoyable read, with the plot moving at a good pace, and the characters are given a good degree of rounding which engages the reader.
The central themes of duty and love as poles or partners is a well-tested one, and there are no real surprises in the plot. One of the most obvious uses of this book is of course to give a flavour of how druidry could have been. To this end there is an inevitable juxtaposition of our modern views on how the ancient world was, along with chants and theological views that we cannot attribute hisotrical basis to. Nonetheless it would be a good teaching aid for those wishing to get more of an appreciation of the use of herbcraft, and the essence of druidry as a nature-based spirituality. This book is an easy read which will benefit those interested in the subject matter.