Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Longbow Girl

Merry Owen and her family live on a farm in the Welsh mountains where they raise ponies and train on the longbow.  Almost 700 years ago, an Owen ancestor came to the aid of the king with longbow skill.  He was granted the land in exchange for a promise that each generation of the family would have a longbow man ready should the king call on his services.

It is a proud tradition for the Owen family, and Merry in particular, who will be the first longbow girl to serve, but it is a sore spot for the neighbors.  The lands belonged to the Earl de Courcy until they were granted to the Owens.  Even now, 700 years later, the current Earl is searching for a way to get the farm back.

He may just get his wish.  The Owens are in financial distress with little hope until Merry discovers an ancient book that could be worth enough to pay of the mortgage.  The book appears to be a lost tome of folklore that leads Merry on a path to a great treasure.

As she follows the clues, she is shocked to discover a passageway to the past to the time of King Henry VIII when the Owen farm was once again in danger.  The tales in Merry's book tell of a female warrior, and she soon realizes it is up to Merry to save the farm in the past and in the present.

Linda Davies's book is a lush tale that transports the reader to the mountains of Wales where the magic of the folklore seems entirely possible.  I loved this book!  It's got plenty of adventure and a strong female protagonist who has overcome a longbow accident that took her eye in the past to become better than anyone else.  She also has a refreshingly platonic (at least for the action of the story) relationship with her best friend James de Courcy.  It is rare in YA for a boy and girl to have a loving and supportive relationship without longing glances and dramatic sighs.  Highly recommended!  I think it's fine for sixth grade and up as long as you don't mind some blood.

One note, I listened to the audio on this one, and the reader's accent is super intense and overdone for the first twenty minutes, but it's fine after that, so don't be deterred!

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