Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Swan Maiden” as Want to Read:
The Swan Maiden
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Swan Maiden

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  549 ratings  ·  80 reviews
In this lush, romantic retelling of one of the most enduring Irish legends, acclaimed Celtic historical author Jules Watson reignites the tale of Deirdre—the Irish Helen of Troy—in a story that is at once magical, beautiful, and tragic.

She was born with a blessing and a curse: that she would grow into a woman of extraordinary beauty—and bring ruin to the kingdom of Ulster
ebook, 0 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Swan Maiden, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Swan Maiden

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,638)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*
3.5 Stars

So first off I feel like I need to explain a bit of the backstory of how I ended up owning The Swan Maiden; it was during one of my thrift store forays when I saw it there on the shelf and instantly thought…..( if you were born/raised in the early 90’s you probably know)


Yup, “The Swan Princess”!! Hooray for random girly purchases that end up being nothing like what you thought they were going to be! Curse my infernal grabby hands mentality – I didn’t even LOOK at the back of the b
So...I don't know. I had a somewhat difficult time with this one. I'd never heard anything about the Irish legend this book is based on, but I enjoyed the main plotline of the story. The problem I had was with the way it's written. Somehow Watson just completely failed to draw me in. I didn't end up caring about any of the characters except for Ardan (pretty sure he's NOT really the one I was supposed to be focused on), and I found myself skimming. A LOT. And saying, "blah, blah, blah, get on wi ...more
The Swan Maiden is a novel based on the Irish legend of "Deirdre of the Sorrows", written by J.M. Synge. When Deirdre was a babe, the druid Cathbad prophesied that she would grow into a great beauty and bring about the downfall of their land. Ignoring requests that the babe be killed, the King of the Ulaids, Conor decides to hide the child with plans to marry her when she becomes of age. Conor enlists the help of Levercham, who teaches Dierdre the ways of the Druids. Attempts to dissuade Conor f ...more
Alesha Orton
I inhaled this book for about 1 month. Okay, sounding dramatic here, but every time I picked this book up I had the rain of Scotland pelting my bare skin. I slept in caves, I stared into Naisi's eyes and watched him kill a man for me. I woke up every morning wanting to read parts over. I read it through, turned to page 1 and read it over... I've NEVER done that before. I wore the book out in 1 month and had to buy a new copy, and I wish I'd written my review back then instead of now, because wha ...more
Sofia Teixeira
Um livro mágico, sedutor, intenso e de uma descoberta avassaladora. Lê-lo foi como mergulhar num mundo paralelo, mitológico, com heróis e vilões, um mundo onde os druidas ainda existem e são a classe mais respeitada entre os homens, onde as sacerdotisas são ouvidas e veneradas, um mundo que se pensa que em tempos existiu e que desapareceu.

A escrita de Jules Watson conquista-nos desde cedo. Apesar de a história se passar em tempos arcaicos da nossa civilização, a escrita é simples, sem rodeios, m
Tentei, tentei uma e outra vez, parei a leitura e retomei mais tarde mas não foi suficiente, o livro não me consegue cativar o suficiente para prosseguir com a leitura.
Full disclosure: I made it to page 300 out of 512 long, meandering, repetitive pages before finally giving up. Life is to short to read bad books, and sadly, this is one of those for me. It had all the right elements for me- fairy tale re-telling. Celtic lore. But Deirdre was boring and flat and apparently a goddess in the flesh, for no man can resist her and she can do no wrong, not to mention some pretty hefty magic powers. This made for an extremely boring and repetitive book, and I couldn't ...more
Baseado num mito irlandês, "A Lenda do Cisne" traz-nos a estória da bela Dreide, uma donzela cujo destino fora profetizado ainda antes do seu nascimento, e que, devido à sua magnitude, se viu enclausurada durante toda a sua vida, sendo educada para se tornar a rainha de Conor, o rei dos Ulaid.
Mas, embora conformada com o seu fado, Dreide descobre o livre arbítrio, a opção de escolha, graças aos três irmãos: Naisi, Ardan e a Ainnle, que são também, guerreiros de Ulaid, os chamados "Red Branch".
I was so excited to read this book but was very disappointed. It was rather dull and more historical fiction than fantasy (I hate historical fiction!). There was no richness to the language or depth to the characters to draw me in. The men were stubborn and honor-bound. The girl was wild with unnatural druid skills that I guess were supposed to make her mysterious and fey. Instead I found her to be unreliable as a character. I never knew if she would react sensibly to something or not. The love ...more
I liked some of this: I found Watson's exploration of the code of honour followed by the Red Branch extremely compelling and the descriptions of nature and countryside extremely beautiful. But I found the long passages describing the nature of the love between Deirdre and Naisi went on and on until I started to skim over them - the first one was insightful, but the author seemed to re-state it over and over. If you're looking for masterful re-workings of ancient fairytales and myths, I'd far pre ...more
As was stated by many of the reviewers on the cover of this book, perhaps the best way to describe Watson's writing style is "lyrical." I felt I was dreaming through much of the book, in a very nice way. The only reason this is receiving 3 stars instead of 4 is that for most of the book I could not see any real reason for Deirdre and Naisi to be in love (in the last quarter of the book I finally reconciled myself to this fact). I am certainly interested to see what Watson does with the Raven Que ...more
I finished this the first time years ago, so pay no mind to the date. I also have little knowledge of Irish legend(s), so when I read the back of the book it sounded interesting enough to read. So, while I'm sure there is plenty to discuss regarding adaptations of existing legends (there always is), I can't--and won't--touch on that.

This is one of those books that I have read over and over. It's one of my most read books on my shelf, and I will never get rid of it. It's a quiet book...some may s
Oh goodness.
I usually, no matter what, finish a book. Or I try my vary best...But I got half way through this and just could not read anymore.
My first time I've ever done that.
So... boring. ugh. I thought it was okay... then she and the guy were just TOO MUCH. ugh. Completely annoyed.
Actually read 1/2 way through and gave up from boredom. I almost will never give up on a book, so you can see how much I didn't care for this book.
Lillian Shuff
Not bad. Not great.
Basically cheesy. Watson tried and failed to describe love
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As suspeitas iniciais de que A Lenda do Cisne, seria em muito semelhante ao primeiro livro da trilogia Sevenwaters de Juliet Marillier, A Filha da Floresta, revelaram-se infundadas. De facto todo o ambiente da história lembra o fantástico mundo de Sevenwaters, mas a história em si, assim como as suas personagens, nada têm de idêntico com a obra acima mencionada.

A Lenda do Cisne recria a lenda de Deirdre e Naisi, sendo esta, parte de um grupo de antigos contos irlandeses denominado O Ciclo do Uls
Allison  Macias
Deirdre is cursed before she even leaves the womb. Her beauty is foretold to bring ruin to Ulster and it's king, Conor. Ignoring the pleas to banish her, he allows her to live, saving her for his eyes only. Raised by a childless couple and a Druid, she soon realizes that she is meant to be one of Conor's possessions. Hearing that his first wife, Maeve left him, Deirdre decides to do the same after crossing paths with three warrior brothers. Sworn to protect the kingdom, the Red Branch Warriors r ...more
Let’s start things off first with that I’ve never heard of, nor have I read the original tale that this based from. Anyway, with that said, let’s get into the review.

The cover of this book while simplistic is lovely and the story does have a healthy does of romance for those of you that enjoy your fantasy novels with that in them. Deirdre is a strong, feisty character that looks for answers of her own regarding her own identity, her fate, and the future of others. She’s headstrong and let’s her
The Swan Maiden is writen by Jules Watson, and is an interpretation of an old Irish legend about a young woman Deirdre, who was born with a curse. Naturely the king believes he can master the curse and so wants to marry her. The story is about Deirdres flight from him and her introduction to a world she has been denied her entire life.

I was very disappointed with the this book. About the first 100 pages were so promising, and I was sure this would be an interesting book. But then two things happ
Therese Regina Marie

Beautiful and tragic. Reading this book was a feast for the senses. It was like being transported into the past.

I was momentarily distracted by the parts that discussed the divine and the Sidhe, but I suppose it was truly a part of that era wherein people were so in tune with nature.

I was spellbound by Jules Watsons' narrative, very poetic and fluid. I can definitely imagine how Deirdre casts a spell as she dances, and I felt how intense her bond is with Naisi. Likewise, with the bond
Emily Ever
This was a pretty intense book. Not gonna lie.

It was really long, too. And I don't know if it had to be that long. The writing was great, don't get me wrong, but the descriptions of things did tend to drag on. The writing was very flowery and in some cases really well done, but overall, there was too much of it.

The story itself was good. Since it's a fairytale - more of less - it's not that surprising.

(view spoiler)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
So first, I love this story, The Exile of the Sons of Uisnech is its original printed title, but since this legend is so old who knows what the title was, or if it even had one. I read the original legend, or various versions of it, I think a year or two ago, and I just feel in love. I feel in love with Deirdre, who I believed was fiery and independent and had been given no choice in the future of her life. And Naoise, (Or Naisi) the warrior who fell in love with her. But since this story is wel ...more
Tempo de Ler

«Nas histórias dos druidas, para alcançar a luz, temos primeiro de descer por uma longa estrada de escuridão, um vale escuro. E quanto mais bonita for a alvorada que acena sobre as colinas, mais difícil o trilho para lá chegar». Esta é uma história de druidas…de mitos e lendas…de magia e superstição…irá Deirdre e Naisi encontrar a sua alvorada? Ou enveredar por uma longa estrada de escuridão sem fim, marcada pelas sombrias intenções de outros como Nessa,
Nadine Jones
I'm halfway through this one now. The book is good, but ... somehow a bit of a slog. Possibly because I've been feverish for a week now and EVERYTHING feels like a bit of a slog...


Okay, I'm sick, bedridden even, and ... this book is really starting to annoy me. It's TOO WORDY!!! Okay okay I GET IT, Deirdre and Naisi are two perfect, sexy people, deeply in touch with nature, and they are madly in love and HAVING LOTS OF SEX IN THE DIRT. Enough already! When they get down and dirty in the ferns,
Já algum tempo que tinha este livro na pilha para ler, já lá vão quase 5 anos desde que o tenho e achei que estava na altura de o ler. Já a muito tempo que não lia um livro de fantasia puro. Uma história bem escrita baseada numa lenda Celta. Em A Lenda do Cisne, Jules Watson traz-nos a maravilhosa história de Deirdre, aquela que seria a mais bela mulher após Helena de Troia, mas essa beleza trouxe uma maldição, maldição essa que para contradizer, Deirdre foi criada em reclusão devido a ganancia ...more
I enjoyed this book, I hadn't heard of the tale that the book is based on so the ending was a bit of shock to me. I like that our main character had all the features of a Disney princess, with the curse and the looks she had some fight of her own and could even save the 'prince charming' if need to. A good story.
Well this book was an emotional roller coaster for me. When I first started it I was leery but I decided to take it on a trip and consumed it all the way home and got carsick going through the canyon cause I couldn't stop. I read it all day today because I just had to know how it played out. I absolutely loved the relationship between Naisi and Deidra. It was one of the realest relationships I have read in a long time. I have thought a lot about this book since finishing it and decided to rate i ...more
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
Aug 04, 2010 joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire* rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of juliet marillier
beautiful, lyrical, folkloric. more accessible than juliet marillier's sevenwaters trilogy (which, don't misunderstand, are some of my all-time favorite books!). the irish myth that forms the basis of this story is somewhat 'helen of troy.' the period detail is lovely. the cover is kind of dumb -- the main character, deidre, is not the moon-faced dreamer or stereotypical luscious blonde maiden.

cleanreads info: this is a very sensual book, right on the edge of what i will read as far as sexual c
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 54 55 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Daughters of the Grail
  • Women in Celtic Myth: Tales of Extraordinary Women from the Ancient Celtic Tradition
  • Prince of Dreams: A Tale of Tristan and Esyllte
  • Spinning Straw into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman's Life
  • Isolde, Queen of the Western Isle (Tristan and Isolde, #1)
  • The White Raven
  • Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales (Penguin Popular Classics)
  • The Magic Circle
  • The Midnight Dancers (A Fairy Tale Retold #4)
  • The Innamorati
  • At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things
  • The Fire Opal
  • The Mabinogion Tetralogy
  • The Greener Shore: A Novel of the Druids of Hibernia
  • Circle of Stones (Circle, #1)
  • Warrior Daughter
  • The Courtesan's Lover
  • Twilight of Avalon (Twilight of Avalon, #1)
Jules Watson was born in Australia to English parents. She came to fiction via archaeology and public relations, working most recently as a freelance writer in England. She and her Scottish husband divide their time between the United Kingdom and Australia.
More about Jules Watson...
The White Mare (Dalriada Trilogy, #1) The Dawn Stag (Dalriada Trilogy, #2) Song of the North (Dalriada Trilogy, #3) The Raven Queen The Boar Stone: Book Three of the Dalriada Trilogy

Share This Book

“Fates are woven not by gods, but by the choices of humans--their greed and jealousies, their loves and courage...Fate is but one moment the gods extend to us, a test for us, but it is the choices we make that take us to that fate, or away. And so I will forge my own life!” 4 likes
More quotes…