One of the things I have enjoyed the most as a mom is sharing good books with my children. My children all have individual tastes, but there are certain authors we all love. Shannon Hale is one of those. We were introduced to her through The Goose Girl, the first of her Books of Bayern series which we read together and loved. As we found Enna Burning and River Secrets, we developed favorites in the series. My football playing, wrestling, shot putting, photographer son's favorite is The Goose Girl. My football playing, weight lifting, piano prodigy son's favorite is Enna Burning, My quiet, tennis, violin, piano and harp playing daughter liked River Secrets best but then she hasn't read Forest Born yet. Personally, I don't have a favorite. Like each of the children mentioned, each of the books has its own personality which I tried to highlight by pointing out some of my children's other interests (and to show that manly men like good books about girls, too). Like my children, each book stands on its own and is lovable for its own personality. Isi, Enna and Razo are in all of the stories, but each one is a different character's story.
Forest Born is the story of Razo's little sister Rinna. The youngest in a family of seven children and the only girl, she is always in someone's shadow. She mimicks her Ma and Razo because she loves and admires them but is she really herself? She is quiet, helpful, dependable and undemanding until the day her world begins to change- Razo has grown up and leaves to make a life for himself. Suddenly she is feeling things she had not before and something is changing inside of her. She finds comfort and peace in the trees that surround her until Wilem comes along. She begins to worry that she has turned bad. The trees have suddenly become distant even as they surround her and the tightness in her chest just won't ease. Rinna's story is not the dark and fiery action of Enna, or the brave and humorous story of her brother Razo or even the quiet, powerful, enduring story of Isi. What I got out of Rinna's story, was courage and truth. The ability to face the truth about ourselves and our choices and actions is a hard thing. To accept that truth, forgive ourselves and find peace even harder.
I loved this book as much as I loved the others. The story pulled me in, making a place for me. I struggled along with Rin as she learned things about herself she would not have ever guessed and at first could not accept. I hope I have also learned to see myself honestly for who I really am- all of it.
If you have never read any of these stories, I would highly recommend them. I find lessons in most things I read, but I am weird that way. This book as the others before it is an engaging story filled with mystery, danger, treachery, and action. Who knows maybe you will learn to talk to the wind, or fire or water or the trees or...