The Warrior’s Path (When Women Were Warriors #1) by Catherine M. Wilson
Publisher/Year: Catherine Wilson, 2010
Format: E-book (Nook)
Set in the British Isles during the Bronze Age, a time when matrilineal societies predominated and female warriors were not uncommon, When Women Were Warriors tells the story of Tamras, a young woman of the warrior class who leaved home to be fostered in Merin’s house, a fortress guarding the northern border of a rich agricultural valley. In Book I of the trilogy, Tamras, our hero, arrives in Merin’s house to begin her apprenticeship as a warrior, but her small stature causes many, including Tamras herself, to doubt that she will ever become a competent swordswoman. To make matters worse, the Lady Merin assigns her the position of companion, little more than a personal servant, to a woman who came to Merin’s house, seemingly out of nowhere, the previous winter, and this stranger wants nothing to do with Tamras. Tamras’s journey begins with the smallest of steps. She sets aside her disappointment and performs as well as she can the humble tasks given her, and eventually she succeeds in winning the trust and then the friendship of the cantankerous warrior to whom she has been assigned. In the first year of her journey, Tamras will make a series of choices that often seem insignificant, but they will flow from her character and from her good intentions, and they will determine her destiny.
What I thought
I’ll be honest, what initially drew me to this freebie that I found in the Nook store was the cover–it was beautiful and drew me right in. And the story held within its pages was just as enjoyable. This one was actually difficult for me to rate. On one hand, I found the writing to be luscious and beautiful. Wilson’s writing is very reminiscent of the traditional oral storytelling, and as I read I couldn’t help but feel like I was reading a classic fairytale. On the other hand, though, I really struggled to connect with Tamras. I’m not sure why this was so, especially since the novel was character driven and not much happened, plotwise. I think this is a shame because it seems like so many other readers didn’t have the same problem that I did. I might continue the series someday, and maybe I’ll re-read this first installment farther down the road to see if maybe I just had a timing issue. I did enjoy my time reading this one, for the most part, though. If you enjoy a character-driven, coming-of-age story with a focus on feminism and all forms of love, this would be a great read for lazing away a summer’s day on a hammock in the shade!