Linda Davies’ Longbow Girl is a riveting, young adult, adventure novel embedded with history, mythology and time travel. It follows the life of a longbow girl in Wales, giving the reader a strong willed and brave protagonist, who will make you want to venture along on her journey.
Merry Owen is a longbow girl; her legacy has passed through the family since an ancestor saved the Black Prince at a battle in Northern France in 1346. He was rewarded his title and part of the de Courcys’ land. The de Courcys and Owens have been enemies ever since, and the de Courcys will do anything to get their land back. However, the author gives the reader hope for the two families, as Merry and James de Courcy are best friends.
Their adventure starts when Merry rides into the forest between Black Castle, the de Courcys’ land, and her own. She finds a burial ground with a mysterious and ancient book inside that holds clues to treasures from another world. She must find the skill and strength to venture along the path the book foretold and help to save her family’s land. She ends up traveling to sixteenth century Wales by the riddles of the book. There, she must compete in a tournament in place of her ancestor – who is held captive by the de Courcys – to retain the claim on her land.
“The old family and the new were still so closely entwined, even after nearly a thousand years. Just like her own family.”
Chapters switch between Merry and James as one character creates their own destiny and the other follows a predicted destiny to become the angel warrior that legends speak about. History has a major impact on this novel, as well as loyalty to family. Merry identifies by her position of being a longbow girl, and has been training since she was five although there is no war to fight. She is brave, adventurous, loyal, strong willed, curious, and thoughtful. Even after a longbow accident claims one of her eyes at the age of twelve, she is still persistent and determined to be worthy of her title. She is a protagonist that demands attention and adds emotion and heart to the story. She is very connected to history, always wondering about those before her and of different eras.
The setting of the novel is vividly clear, as well as the culture and traditions of her Welsh family. The characters and their lifestyles unfold in depth, as well as the role of a longbow girl. The author describes Merry and her longbow routines in a factual, comprehensible way that adds to the plot of the story and the character’s evolution. The hilarious reactions and interactions that Merry and James face before discovering they are in sixteenth century Wales is very enjoyable. Watching as their knowledge of their families and history helps them maneuver through the dangers of another time is a great addition to the story. This novel is exhilarating, with danger and suspense from Earls to Countesses, a King, a thief, the journey into another time, warhorses, hounds, a royal archery tournament, and the task of saving her family and her past ancestors.
People who enjoy adventurous tales full of suspense, history, binding relationships, and heartwarming moments will treasure this well written tale.
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