It takes eight pages for conflict to erupt in DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST, for the first plot point to be anchored to the story, when Finbur quietly defies his father’s anger and refuses to go fight with him.
But it doesn’t matter. The prose is gorgeous and well-fitted for this story, a re-telling of the Grimm’s Fairy Tale THE SIX SWANS. Let me give you an example:
I don’t remember Finbur answering, but later that day, as dusk was falling, he took me back to the lakeshore. In the half light over the water, we saw the swans come home. The last low traces of sun caught a white movement in the darkening sky.
Beautiful. The prose has a dream-like quality well-fitted to a folk tale, or a story of ancient Ireland where Juliet Mariller has chosen to set this tale.
As you are well aware, I am interested in craft, and in seeing what a truly wonderful writer can do. Here is an example of the sheer power of well-chosen words. An example of how you can get away without conflict, or an obvious hook, as long as you have the talent to weave a spell and send the reader into a trance. Five stars.