Title: The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven
Author: Jennifer Ivy Walker
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Medieval Romance
First Publication: 2022
Book Summary: The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven by Jennifer Ivy Walker
In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom.
Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe of Dana, a gift of Druidic magic might hold the key he seeks.
Haunted and hunted. Entwined by fate. Can their passion and power prevail?
Book Review: The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven by Jennifer Ivy Walker
To retell a well-known legend in a manner that is both original and engaging despite its familiarity is always a challenging task. However, author Jennifer Ivy Walker has done an outstanding job of meeting this challenge head-on. Beautifully written, The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven is a retelling of the Celtic tale of Tristan and Iseult that gained popularity in the 12th century through French medieval poetry. This gripping story brings to life the characters of Tristan and Iseult, as well as their conflicting backgrounds, the people they allied with, and the love they shared.
The plot centers on Issylte, a beautiful young Irish princess. Issylte is terrified by her ice-cold, emotionless stepmother when she first meets her after her father has remarried. She receives brutal treatment at the hands of her ruthless stepmother and the queen, Morag of Scotland. Princess she may be, but Issylte has never felt more alone than when her father, the king, fell under the queen’s influence.
Issylte seeks refuge from her evil stepmother with Maiwenn, a fairy witch of Hazelwood Forest. Maiwenn takes Issylte under her wing and teaches her the magical powers of the forest. Under the fairy witch’s tutelage, Issylte explores various techniques of magic. Taking the reins from chance, she enters a mystical realm to hone her abilities. When she finally meets Tristan, she immediately falls in love with him. They adore each other and their shared love keeps them together, yet others want to break them apart. She is forced to make a choice between continuing her healing life and putting her birthright at risk in order to protect her kingdom. They are brought together by destiny, but will their union bring about their downfall, or will they emerge victorious and vanquish their foes?
While their fates are decided by circumstance, their hearts are free. This is a wonderful tale; it is dramatic, exciting, and deeply touching. Best of all, the sensory descriptions create such a rounded experience that you emerge blinking and dazed, as if you’ve just travelled back in time to another world. This is a gripping and complex story that weaves together the political and theological conflicts of the sixth century, which was a time when the ancient Druidic religion was still exerting a significant influence. One of the most romantic of the Celtic stories is given a new life and a sense of wonder by author Jennifer’s vivid writing. The narrative is told in a mesmerizing voice that is almost a whisper, and there is not a single dull moment throughout the whole thing. I was captivated from the very beginning to the very end.
Jennifer’s The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven is a stunning rendition of the Celtic legend, with an all-encompassing sense of mood and place. The precarious nature of life in ancient Cornwall is vividly realised, as are the territorial politics. Through the perspective of the two characters, the reader experiences all of the cruel realities of war as well as the agonies of falling in love. A retelling of a famous story runs the risk of becoming a pale imitation of the original, but Jennifer Ivy Walker has developed a moving and beautiful adaptation in its own right. She has a manner of presenting the story that evokes genuine feelings of compassion and sympathy in the reader for each and every character who is involved.