Read The White Mare by Jules Watson Online

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Spanning three centuries, the series recreates Celtic Britain at the time of the Roman invasion: a land of visions and dreams, bloodshed and brutal death.It is AD 79 and Agricola, the ruthless governor of Roman Britain, is turning his attentions to the last unconquered territory in Britain - Alba, Scotland. Rhiann is a courageous and beautiful Scottish princess and priesteSpanning three centuries, the series recreates Celtic Britain at the time of the Roman invasion: a land of visions and dreams, bloodshed and brutal death.It is AD 79 and Agricola, the ruthless governor of Roman Britain, is turning his attentions to the last unconquered territory in Britain - Alba, Scotland. Rhiann is a courageous and beautiful Scottish princess and priestess scarred by her violent past. Of noble blood, she faces what for her is the ultimate sacrifice - a forced marriage - to protect the freedom of her people. Eremon is an enigmatic Irish prince in exile, who must seek an alliance elsewhere to regain his throne. Will he prove himself to be the man who can unite the squabbling Celtic tribes against the more ominous threat of Rome? With war and chaos looming for her people, Rhiann finds herself drawn into an unexpected journey of the spirit and heart, which will reveal the true purpose of her life....

Title : The White Mare
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781585677504
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 480 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The White Mare Reviews

  • Laura
    2019-03-31 17:47

    It mostly sucked me in with the plot and then it let loose with the throbbing members and round white heaving bosoms. I stopped reading at the first hint of a pulsating penis, because if I wanted to read a romance novel, I would go read one. Not a romance novel masquerading as "historical fiction". And why can't they just say penis? Why is it always "member"?

  • Anita Baião
    2019-04-15 14:25

    I was reluctant to read it at first because some of the reviews mentioned "throbbing members" and "heaving breasts" and that was really off-putting as it reminded me of those really cheap novels. But, after realizing this was an historical novel and the author was an archaeologist I decided to give it a go.And I'm glad I did. The story drawed me from the first page and I was delighted with the descriptions about the Scottish Iron Age strong holds and about the roman formations. The romance is something solid, built, and not coming from nowhere, which is something I found really refreshing. And it does not happen despite the whole plot, but it is weaved with it and everything happens because of it. Because these are Human characters and not untouchable heroes.As there is not much detailed information about the pre-Christian indigenous religion, the author based the religion in neo-pagan traditions, which made it feel a bit off from the context.As for the "throbbing members" and "heaving breasts", I did not see any of these descriptions and all of the intimate scenes were very tasteful and relevant to the story.I recommend this to anyone who likes good historical fiction with a dash of romance and really Human characters.

  • Jo Barton
    2019-03-30 16:26

    Risi Reading Challenge 2013Sometimes a book sits on your bookshelf and you keep on saying to yourself that you will get round to reading it one day. My lovely book friend, Elaine, always insisted that Eremon would give Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series a good run in the macho male stakes, well, I always doubted that bit, but I have to admit that Eremon does have a certain male arrogance that is rather appealing.The story is set in the distant past, when the Roman invasion of Britain is well under way. Agricola, the ruthless Roman governor, is intent on conquering the last unconquered territory, namely that of Alba, Scotland. Rhiann is the beautiful but remote Scottish priestess, who is the last remaining hope of the female blood line on which her royal heritage is based, and Eremon is a fugitive Irish prince who in order to gain strength by association, is persuaded to take the inscrutable lady Rhiann as his wife. However, whilst Rhiann and Eremon’s enforced marriage offers some protection to the Epidii people of the White Mare, there are others who seek to destroy this alliance. Whilst the echoes of primeval mysteries surround this ancient game of thrones, the storm clouds gather and as the distant warlords hear the rubble of the mighty Roman army, the observance of time honoured rituals offer no protection against impending danger. This is the start of a trilogy of novels, which hover in the twilight world of myth and legend. The second book, The Dawn Stag, continues the story of Rhiann and Eremon, whilst the third book The Boar Stone concludes the story some three hundred years later.Well worth a read if you like historical romance, mystery and ancient history combined with a rollicking good adventure.

  • Courtney
    2019-03-21 13:29

    More of a 4.5 for me. The storytelling was as good as it gets. Jules Watson is definitely on my top list of great authors who know what they're doing.The White Mare had many things that I look for in a novel - well described setting, development in romance, and dialogue that touches the heart. There was a moment where I felt the story tug at my heart and that's a very rare occurrence. If such an occurrence happened in any book that I read, I would probably automatically place it in the 4-5 star range.Rhiann is a stubborn young woman, but wise beyond her years. Eremon is courageous, smart, outgoing, and darn handsome! He's probably my favorite character in the novel. The development of characters by Watson is incredible and I loved going on this journey with them. It was a rocky journey, but it turned out well in the end, thank goodness.The only thing that made it not a total 5 star was because of Rhiann's obstinacy. It occurred many times throughout the novel. Though it did add complexity to her character, it made me feel frustrated with what she was thinking and what made her think that way.Overall, the novel is definitely a favorite. I would like to thank those who recommended The White Mare to me, especially Leea. She encouraged me to read it and I'm glad I read it sooner than later because this novel got me out of a reading slump. Now I'm back in action!

  • Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
    2019-04-08 09:40

    The White Mare is a work of historical fiction, with dabs of fantasy and a strong dash of romance. The setting: first-century Scotland, as the Romans move to conquer lands traditionally held by the peoples we know as the Picts. Irish exile Eremon arrives just in time to be appointed war leader by a local tribe; their princess and priestess, Rhiann, is pressured into marriage with him despite her wishes (and from there, the story goes exactly where you think it does). It should be noted that this is an odd sort of trilogy: the first two books are meant to be read together (this one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger) and then there's a 300-years-later sequel. I'll admit that when I first started this book, I was not impressed. The writing style is merely passable, with a tendency toward melodrama. The characters are nothing original, and some tired tropes are dragged once again into the light: the family wiped out by raiders in the backstory; the character who always behaves "honorably," even against their own interests, without any compelling reason to do so. And yet, as I read on, the book began to have a certain charm for me. From the beginning, the author does an excellent job in her depiction of everyday life in ancient Scotland. The backdrop here is vivid, with lots of visual imagery, and the author brought her tale to life by showing how people spent their time. The plot is fast-paced, with lots of short scenes--too short at times, but rest assured that the story does not bog down in description. I became so eager to know what happened next that I read the entire second half of the book in one day. And--this is probably why I finally warmed up to it--the romance was unexpectedly romantic and touching. My only issue was with its resolution--forced rather than arising naturally from the characters; it just felt wrong on so many levels. On the historical accuracy: very little is known about the Picts, so Watson invents as she pleases. The Roman invasion really happened, but many elements--like the Goddess religion and its priestesses--have no basis in fact, which may bother historical purists. As is common in prehistoric fiction, the religion is "real" within the context of the story, with some supernatural occurrences blurring the line between historical fiction and historical fantasy. Comparison with Juliet Marillier's Bridei Chronicles is inevitable, since both are historical fantasy-romance focusing on the Picts. Watson's books are faster-paced, with more of an emphasis on war and more vivid descriptions of daily life. Marillier's books are slower, more character-driven, and being set a few hundred years later, have perhaps a more medieval, rather than prehistoric, feel. Readers will have to decide for themselves which trilogy they prefer, but if you're looking for a light read with war and romance in a historical setting, you could do worse than The White Mare.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-10 12:36

    This is a book set in Scotland at the time Agricola and the Romans had been charged with making Scotland part of the Roman empire.Rhian is a priestess and Eremon is an Irish prince in exile since his uncle took up arms against him and chased him out of Ireland. Reaching Scotland, Eremon's goal is to gain renown and make allies and return to Ireland to claim his kingdom.There is no mention of a seannad ever having elected Eremon, which makes this plot point problematic. In Ireland, sons did not automatically inherit kingship from their fathers. A seannad, consisting of members of branches of the royal family, had to agree on who would rule next. A king could not rule without their consent. In Eremon's case, only his uncle turned on him, so what happened to all the other members of the seannad who had elected Eremon? There is no mention of them whatsoever.However, the main problem I had with this story is that the plot was set up on a very flimsy conflict. Any conflict that can be resolved by two people sitting down and talking (but who won't do so) isn't a true conflict. It struck me that Jules Watson wanted the consummation of Eremon's and Rhian's marriage to take place during a Beltaine festival towards the end of the book and so needed to keep them apart until that time. Whenever an opportunity for them to reconcile their differences arose, Rhian backed out and Eremon didn't attempt to speak plainly.Before that Beltaine festival, Eremon comes to realise that he loves Rhian, but how this development occurred, I'm not sure, unless it's simply that they live in close proximity to one another and he can't bear the fact that they haven't consummated their marriage yet!Rhian also scorns Eremon at one point by stating his people do not have priestesses in Ireland any longer. As Rhian and her Sisterhood are set up according to the Wiccan belief system (which is not the ancient Celtic spiritual belief system), this irritated me. In Celtic Ireland (and elsewhere in the Celtic world) druids were both male and female. In The White Mare, only males are druids. Having said this, Watson has created the world of this book very, very well, bringing it to life with small telltale details that cause the people to come alive on the page.I enjoyed reading the acknowledgements at the beginning of the book, too. Watson thanks her husband for being her sounding block and helping her work out the plot "over many a pint in many a pub". Having the support of those nearest and dearest you when you set out to write is value beyond measure, and it was heartwarming to read about the people who supported her in her work.

  • Jenny
    2019-04-04 09:52

    I was disappointed in this book. I had read several reviews and most complained about the sexual scenes. I wasn't even bothered by those. What bothered me was the lack of depth in the characters. Rhiann isn't endearing and Eremon seems like all he does is think about himself and his penis. I realized that I was over halfway done through the book and nothing really had happened. The characters are only developed surface level and the book includes plenty of fluffy filling. I will not be reading any more of this series.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-09 17:28

    If you like historical fiction set in early Scotland...then you will love this book. If you like books like The Mists of Avalon then you will like this book.I could say this book did leave me with little frustrations...the relationship between the two main characters is aggravating. It just seemed like they would not talk to each other and find out what the heck was wrong with one another. There are too many secrets and too many lies. They eventually grow to love one another, even though I think there will be many more trails and tribulations for them along the way. There was questions I had about the invading Romans, some of which I think I may have to research on my own. The author adds some well research notes at the end of the book. Overall I liked this book, I would probably recommend to others to read.

  • Deborah Pickstone
    2019-03-27 15:45

    It started well and I thought I was onto a winner....as the cover said, it was an ambitious novel to write as a first. I allowed a little extra latitude for suspension of disbelief etc and ploughed on. Then somewhere around p200 I realised that the author had clearly read The Eagle and the Raven and lifted a main plot from it but with different characters. I also began to realise that the dialogue had become wooden and the characters were not developing.It had promised so much (not least, to me, a further couple of fat books to make up a series) but around p400 I called it a day and left the characters to go around in circles for the last however many pages. Pity.

  • Margareth8537
    2019-03-20 11:45

    Quite interesting. Always difficult with such a book, as historically it has to be a lot of guesswork, but read quite convincingly. Always found it interesting that the Romans made it as far north as to set up the Antonine Wall, and that they retreated to Hadrian's Wall and gave up on the north - not their usual way.Liked the interplay between Eremon and Rhianna, although as another review says, you felt like skelping her at times. Interested to see how the author developes her story

  • ChristinaRae
    2019-03-26 09:26

    I loved this book. The characters were well-developed, the atmosphere was convincing, and the story was compelling. A great read for fans of ancient history, early Celtic cultures, and all things Scottish. The romance was realistic and complemented the historical story line instead of overwhelming it. I read the successive two books; loved the second (it made me cry), liked the third (a good wrap-up to the political drama).

  • Lucy Pollard-Gott
    2019-04-08 12:26

    Strong writing in this historical romance set in Roman Britain, and focused on the attempt to ally tribes of Erin (Ireland) and Alba (Scotland) to stop the advance of Roman rule. Good enough that I will read the sequel, The Dawn Stag.

  • Laura
    2019-04-09 16:48

    I tried reading this novel because I enjoy this genre in general, and I was looking forward to the historical aspect. But I found the characters fairly flat and the conflict cliched and I just couldn't keep reading.

  • Emmeline (The Book Herald)
    2019-03-30 11:36

    Easily the best and most breathtaking historical fiction and romance that I've ever read.

  • Brittney Tyler
    2019-04-13 09:28

    Star Rating: 5 starsIf you have been following my reviews, you will have heard about my fascination with all things Dark Age Europe, although I prefer Dark Age England. (if that is not the term it is traditionally called, then I am sorry. I hope to start calling things by the right term as I progress through my history degree.) Anyway, I like anything that is set in the time-span of the official Roman withdrawal from the British Isles to the Norman Conquest, although I will read pretty much anything that is set in a historical time period (Historical fiction is my 3rd favorite genre so I read quite a lot of it, if you couldn’t tell from the amount of reviews that I write about books from that genre). On a recent journey through my library stacks, I found The White Mare by Jules Watson, and since it is set in a historical time period that I didn’t know much about (the failed Roman invasion of Alba/Scotland) and was written by an archaeologist (I like to read books by authors that have knowledge of the time period that they are writing in because it makes the story feel more authentic and accurate), I decided to take it home and try reading it. This saga is set in Iron Age Alba or Scotland, and it chronicles the story of a whole cast of characters, but focuses on Eremon and Rhiann mostly. Eremon is an Eirish/Irish prince who had to flee his homeland after his uncle stole his recently deceased father’s throne out from under him, and Rhiann is a priestess of the Goddess (Scared Feminine, Mother Earth, the Moon) who because she is the niece of the late king of her people (in most Alban/Scottish cultures at this time, royalty was passed through the female line), the Epidii, is being forced to marry to produce a heir/the next king. Drawn together by unforeseen circumstances, these two individuals and the people involved with them have to fight to protect their country and their way of life from a myriad of outside forces.The reason why this book got such a high rating from me is the history that was woven into the plot. As stated before, I prefer my historical books to be accurate and authentic so I try to read books by authors that have had some experience with the area that they are writing about, and in this case, the author was an archaeologist and included a historical note detailing the basics of the research that she collected so I knew going into this that I was going to love that part of the story. I have always been interested in history since I was a little girl, and I love reading books that are set in time periods that I don’t know a lot about or that interest me. However, there is one time period that gets me more excited than all the others combined, and that is the previously established time span from the Roman withdrawal from the British Isles to the beginning of the Norman Conquest. I find this time period so interesting because not much is known about it and the peoples that lived during it. It is a period steeped with mystery, and I want to figure out all of its secrets. Because of this, it is where I am focusing my history degree and I plan to write my dissertation on some aspect of it. All in all, who doesn’t love a good fiction story set in their favorite time period with a little bit of magic thrown in for good measure. If you like historically accurate plots, detailed and complex characters, engaging and interwoven storylines, and romances you want to take up arms and fight for, then you will love this book. I came for the history, and it was great, but the characters and plot allowed me to stay and not get bored in the slightest (I don’t want to tell you much about either because it’s best if you discover them for yourselves). If you are a fan of authors like Juliet Marillier, then I think you should give this book a shot. 5 stars!

  • Samantha L. Groom
    2019-03-28 13:35

    I love a book that makes you wonder about its characters in your spare, non-reading time. I love when a book makes you fall in love with them as they fall in love with each other. The development of characters here is smooth and consistent, not rushed or forced. The story arch also follows a natural flow and doesn't feel forced. There seems to be a place for everything and everything in its place, a perfect mix of history and magic that doesn't feel competitive. I look forward to reading the next installment!

  • Butterfly2507
    2019-03-22 13:49

    Puh, was für ein Wälzer. Ich bin erstaunt dass ich das Buch überhaupt zu Ende gelesen habe. Es ist das Erste einer Reihe und für mich leider auch das Letzte.Keine Spannung, keine gute Story, nichts. Rhiann und Eremon sind seit zwei Jahren verheiratet, hatten noch nie Sex und dann auf ein Mal kommt alles viel zu schnell (auf den letzten 50 Seiten). Jules Watson ist ein bisschen wie George R.R. Martin: jedes Grashalm muss genauestens beschrieben werden was für mich den Flow des Buches zerstört hat. Schade.

  • Emely
    2019-03-21 16:34

    After making it to page 47 I was completely -and literally- exhausted by the authors writing style. I liked the opening scene of the birth, I like the general setting in Celtic Alba. But: Not only does Jules Watson go on and on with describing landscapes, weather, locations, etc. she also used so many -too many-unique/new/unusual adjectives, adverbs, verbs, nouns, etc that it becomes complete overload, and also very confusing. I feel like Watson spends too much time and ink with descriptions than with introducing and developing characters. I wish this book would have been a page turner because I love historical fiction, especially ancient history and middle ages.

  • Manal
    2019-03-22 11:34

    Now that was poetry. A beautiful book with lots of historical information about a region and period of human history...about the Roman invasion to Scotland.What I love about old religions...what we call paganism...is the strong relation to earth..may be if we instill some of this faith in our lives we can be kinder to her.

  • Erin
    2019-04-13 15:40

    Hmmmm...this is more a 3.5. A bit slow to start...but half way through , and I have grown an attachment to the main players. No ewwwy fromage romance to spoil it. Looking forward to the second book!

  • Patricia
    2019-03-25 12:30

    Meine MeinungRhiann wurde auf einer Insel als Prieserin ausgebildet und musste während ihrer Zeit dort einen schlimmen Raubüberfall miterleben, bei dem ihr schreckliche Dinge geschehen sind. Im Jahr 79 nach Christus lebt Rhiann wieder als Heilerin bei ihrem Stamm in Schottland. Als der König stirbt ist es ihre Aufgabe für einen Thronfolger zu sorgen und sie wird mit dem zufällig an Schottlands Küste gestrandeten Prinzen Eremon vermählt. Diese Ehe wird jedoch niemal vollzogen und das Ehepaar lebt mehr oder weniger nebeneinander her. Allerdings werden sie durch den Kampf gegen die römischen Besatzer vereint und kommen sich dann auch vielleicht als Paar etwas näher.Rhiann wird als starke und mutige Frau beschrieben. Sie möchte gerade wegen der Dinge, die ihr angetan wurden ein unabhängiges Leben führen, ist aber dazu verdammt heiraten zu müssen. Während der Geschichte wächst sie immer weiter über sich hinaus, trifft richtige und falsche Entscheidungen und lernt schließlich sich auf ihren Instinkt zu verlassen. Sie hat mir als weibliche Protagonistin gut gefallen. Natürlich verköpert Rhiann als Priesterin auch eine gewisse Spiritualität in der Geschichte, weil sie der "Göttin" dient.Eremon ist ein verbannter Prinz, der mit seiner Mannschaft an Schottlands Küste strandet. Er wirkt zu Beginn der Geschichte getrieben und weiß nicht so recht wo sein Platz in der Welt ist. Er lässt sich zu einigen Dummheiten verleiten, ist allerdings auch in der Lage aus seinen Fehlern zu lernen. Auch er entwickelt sich im Laufe der Geschichte zu einem starken Protagonisten und als es darauf ankommt, beweist er ein ordentliches Rückrat.Die Beziehung zwischen Rhiann und Eremon ist von Beginn an schwierig aber durchaus respektvoll. Beide Partner respektieren sich, auch wenn sie im Alltag scheinbar nicht viel miteinander zu tun haben. Es hat mir viel Freude bereitet zu lesen wie langsam und vorsichtig sich die beiden Charaktere annähern.Die "römische" Bedrohung fügt der Handlung eine gewisse Dramatik hinzu. Wir lernen nicht nur viel über die Schotten und ihre Lebensweise, sondern dürfen auch in ein römisches Lager hineinschauen. Dabei werden erfreulicherweise nicht alle Römer als böse Eroberer dargestellt, sondern die Autorin stellt viele Facetten der Römer vor, in dem sie uns zwei verschiedene römische Männer vorstellt.Der Schreibstil ist flüssig, wenn auch etwas pathetisch und distanziert gehalten. Das hat den Unterhaltungswert des Buches für mich nicht geschmälert, jedoch verhindert, dass ich mich vollends in die Geschichte fallen lassen konnte.FazitTartan und Schwert von Jules Watson ist ein solide geschriebener historischer Schmöker, der uns eine Zeit und eine Kultur näher bringt, über die wir kaum noch etwas wissen. Es war sehr interessant etwas über die schottischen Stämme, ihre Religion und ihre Lebensumstände zu dieser Zeit zu lesen. Auch die beiden Protagonisten Eremon und Rhiann waren mir durchweg sympathisch und verfügten über eine gewisse Tiefe. Der Schreibstil war allerdings hier und da etwas zu distanziert gehalten für meinen Geschmack und das Buch hatte schon die ein oder andere Länge, was allerdings bei der hohen Seitenanzahl auch nicht verwunderlich ist.Insgesamt hat mich "Tartan und Schwert" gut unterhalten und ich habe dem Buch dreieinhalb Sterne gegeben!

  • Elena
    2019-04-09 14:37

    Die Römer rücken gegen Alba und dann stirbt auch noch der König: Rihann, Prinzessin und Heilerin der Epidier, muss schnell verheiratet werden, denn nur ihr Schoss als Ban Cré kann den neuen König gebären. Zur gleichen Zahl muss der irische Prinz Eremon wegen Verrat mit einer handvoll Getreuen über die stürmische See nach Schottland fliehen. Das Schicksal führt ihm zu den Epidiern, die einen neuen Anführer brauchen und so wird er mit deren Prinzessin verheiratet. Doch Rihanns Vergangenheit überschattet die Ehe, hat sie Eremon doch nur aus Pflichtgefühl geheiratet und lässt ihm ihre Verachtung gegenüber Kriegern spüren. Aber Eremon stellt sich seiner Aufgabe die Stämme Albas zu einen und versucht, Rihanns Herz zu gewinnen…Der Auftakt der “Dalriada”-Trilogie entführt in ein wildes und ungezähmtes Schottland, welches zersplittert ist in die einzelnen Stämme. Nur wenige erkennen die Bedrohung durch den römischen Feldherrn Agricola, der sich vorgenommen hat, ganz Alba zu unterwerfen. Jedoch befördert der ränkeschmiedende oberste Druide der Epidier, Gelert, durch seine Intrigen den fähigen Eremon ins Amt des obersten Kriegsherr. Eremon unternimmt alles in seiner Macht stehende, um die Epidier zum Kampf zu wappnen und mehr über die Pläne der Römer zu erfahren. Ihm zur Seite steht Rihann, die – wenn sie ihm auch nicht ihr Herz schenkt – ihm doch in ihrer Eigenschaft als Ban Cré hilft, seine Mission erfolgreich zu erfüllen. Doch wird es ihnen gelingen die Stämme Albas rechtzeitig zu einen und den zahllosen Intrigen und Verrätern zu entkommen?Eine spannende Geschichte, welche mit der interessanten Ausgangssituation aufwartet, dass die schottischen Könige über die weibliche Blutlinie bestimmt wurden – was historischen Tatsachen zu entsprechen scheint. Generell ist es ein großer Pluspunkt für die Geschichte, dass sie eine recht unverbrauchte Epoche der schottischen Geschichte als Basis hat und faszinierende Einblicke in die Kultur der Stämme vor der Eroberung Albas bietet. Einige Charaktere sind recht komplex angelegt, so dass erst nach und nach offene Fragen geklärt werden. Ein kleines Manko des Buches ist, dass die Liebesgeschichte zwischen Rihann und Eremon etwas schneller zum glücklichen Ende finden könnte - jedoch ist das Ende wiederum so schön gemacht, dass das Warten gerne verziehen wird. Eine weitere kleine Schwäche des Buches ist es, dass es hie und da Logikfehler gibt, insbesondere was Zeitabläufe betrifft: Im einen Absatz heilt und gesundet der Kranke schnell; dann wird im nächsten Absatz festgestellt, dass die Heilung nicht eintreten will, weil der Bettlägrige sich selbst bestrafen will. Dies könnte aber desöfteren auch der Übersetzung geschuldet sein, welche die kausalen Zusammenhänge nicht angemessen darstellt. Manchmal erscheint das Sprachniveau auch etwas flach. Zudem ist die Bezeichnung Lady meiner Meinung nach für eine Handlung in der Zeit nicht ganz angemessen, ich wüsste aber auch keinen besseren Begriff. Insgesamt eine lohnende Lektüre, welche auch geschichtlich wertvoll ist.

  • Valerie
    2019-03-21 11:26

    I adore wandering through libraries. You never know what treasures you'll find.I found one in The White Mare - a book I'd never heard of before by an author I'd never read. Considering both my lineage and my belief, a tale set in ancient lands where Druids and Priestesses alike played a large role in society immediately appealed. It didn't take much convincing on part of the writing for me to check it out, either.A priestess, who had somehow lost her Sight, Rhiann finds herself terrified when a Prince of Erin lands on their shores, just after sending their King off to the Otherworld.Eremon, the exiled King from Erin, who had been betrayed by his uncle and is now in search of glory and support in order to win back his throne.A land threatened by the Romans.I can't speak to historical accuracy - history isn't my thing - but Watson paints a pretty amazing picture. Amazing enough that I just realized that for a brief moment I completely forgot this was supposed to be a fictional setting.Or is it? Hard to tell!Early on, Gelert immediately strikes me as "the bad guy." Him being an oddity among the other Druids of the clan in his methods, thoughts, and treatment of the heroine point to him as such from the get go. There are many incidents of distaste, so many that I wonder if it isn't a little too obvious that he's the antagonist for this story. Even when he's not on stage, it's impossible to forget him. I wondered immediately if he wouldn't eventually be the one to sell them out to the Romans.The book deals a lot in matters of betrayal, on all different levels. Personal, cultural, community, political - even spiritual, if Gelert is any indication. It balances that, though, with a story of honor, steadfastness, and hope. It takes me - because of my personal associations - back in time in such a wonderful way, and it makes me realize the depth of not just what I believe, but also who I am. These people, this story could very well be the stories of my own ancestors.I don't know that I'd feel the same connection to this book if not for the affinity I already carry for the socio-spiritual structure of the people it chronicles. What I do know, is it is a very organic story. It tells of a people, of their lives, in a very realistic way - for all it being considered a fictional story. The way the relationship between Rhiann and Eremon evolve from her pulling a knife on him to finally coming around to full acceptance. The way she grew, and healed. The struggles they all faced as they do the best they can to defend their lands against invaders. There's a strong thread of truth that settles, something that says, "believe."For as much as I loved it, I do have to knock off a star for the pacing. For the most part, the story progressed at an almost perfect pace. There was a section that almost had me putting the book down, however, for as badly as the progress slowed.This review can also be read over at What This Witch Reads.

  • Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
    2019-03-29 09:29

    This book has some similarities to the Marillier books I have recently read as well as The Mists of Avalon, but takes place centuries earlier in 79 AD. Unfortunately, the writing is just not up to the quality of those incredible books . This story is compelling and I never was tempted to stop reading. But at times it was very tedious especially in the first half, and I found myself skimming. It also gave me a somber feeling and a sense of impending doom from the beginning that took away my enjoyment of Rhiann and Eremon and those who they shared this story with. Some of this came from a cryptic prophecy and some was because of a technique the author used in telling the story. At times the story just skipped to those who were plotting and were simply evil and would give just a few pages of what was happening outside the lives of the main characters. It was like something bad was always lurking around the corner. It was an effective technique if the reader is supposed to be worried all the time! Rhiann pretty much irritated me throughout the book. I don't like doing spoilers in reviews so won't, but she had something horrible happen to her that had an effect on her throughout the book. But sometimes I wanted to just shake her and tell her to wake up and get over it! Eremon is an exiled prince and a really great hero for the time. He is rough and a man's man, a great leader and you do see into his mind and heart - the author did a great job bringing him to life and letting the reader see his great strengths and his weaknesses as well. His brother, Conaire and Rhiann's half sister Caitlin were also wonderful characters.This is the first book of a trilogy and right now I don't think I will read any more of them. Maybe I will read some reviews and decide. This book had an ending that was satisfying to me although it is obvious that life and strife is going to go on. I am just not sure I want to know about it and that I would not be more satisfied with just this one book.

  • Sheena
    2019-04-20 14:38

    I'm not quite sure if this book deserves a four or a three. So I'll settle for 3.5. The plot is a bit hard to explain but I'll try my best.Set in 79 ad, Scotland, the book tells the story of native tribes that are trying to evade invasion from Rome. Having lost a king, the tribe must marry their royal priestess, Rhiann — who carries the blood of the king — to a foreign prince named Eremon. From there on, we embark on a journey filled with political strategies, war, love, traitors, druids, priestesses, and seductresses. For a book filled with spiritual magic and constant references to deities and goddesses, it manages to portray the would-be hero and heroine as grounded and flawed. In fact, there were many moments where I found myself greatly disappointed by their heedless actions.I love, love fat books full of ancient lore and old languages so I was looking forward to this since it gets compared to Mists of Avalon (one of my favorites) and Juliet Marilier's style of writing. It's in the same genre where warriors and priestesses are found but it isn't as lyrical as I expected. Not to say that I didn't enjoy it, just that there were some parts that I couldn't help but think were a bit too melodramatic. I can't pinpoint exactly what I found wrong with the book since I never got bored with it. Maybe because I found some passages a bit unnecessary that I'm hesitant to give it four stars. This is a historical fantasy for adult readers so don't be surprised when you find yourself reading quite a lot of scenes with sex involved.

  • Elien
    2019-04-03 09:38

    I really should start reviewing the books I've read. Sometimes I can't even remember the reason why I loved them or not! So here goes.The White Mare is a truly wonderful book. I'm all into the ancient religions concerning the Goddess, and the setting of this book is what drew my attention in the first place.Though I had feelings of sympathy towards Rhiann from the beginning, I didn't really *like* her at first. She had to grow on me. But when she eventually did, her overall character intrigued me and I couldn't help falling in love with her. Same goes for Eremon. I quite liked him in the beginning, then I hated him for a while, and eventually I loved him as well. There were times I wanted to give them both a big smack to the head, though. But that's what makes a character come to life, in my opinion. They're only human. I had almost the same feeling here as I had with Fitz from the Farseer trilogy. You love him to bits, even though you sometimes want to drag him out of the book and scream at him for being such a freakin' idiot. :p I didn't think there would be so much angst and drama and romance in this book, though, but it wasn't an unwelcome surprise. It all just fits. There's no drama for the sake of drama, it all adds up. Great read.I'm starting the sequel tonight! :)

  • Eirian Houpe
    2019-04-11 12:47

    Immersive, Evocative and Gripping.This was a book that made me homesick, not for a place, but for a state of being, and my faith. Though fictional, Watson's attention to detail in re-imagining ancient Celtic traditions and culture, the yearly rituals and passage of time create an excellent emotional pull to something deep and primal within the reader that really gets you attached to the characters and events in the story.On the other side of that coin, it is very easy to become frustrated with Rhiann, who seems headstrong, spoiled and inflexible, and perhaps yes, she has a reason to hate men, but of all the characters in this well told, gripping tale, she was the one I most wanted to slap. Since she is one of the main protagonists, it seems to me to be a testament to the quality of the writing that I kept reading, because I became invested in finding out what will happen to the people of the north, and as such, I will probably come back to read the rest of the books in the series.The descriptions are well rounded and engage all the senses, and move the reader through the plot effortlessly and without pretension, immersing the reader in the events as they unfold for a truly enjoyable read.

  • Suzy Kennedy
    2019-04-20 09:46

    What a great historical fiction. Well written, engaging and relatively historically accurate. I love when authors so some homework -the author is an archeologist. Yes there are some discrepancies with history- but that's why its a fiction. I liked the premise that a prince is overthrown by his uncle, set into exile and is now trying to gain alliances in Ireland to take back his kingdom. He marries a priestess form a strong family to get these alliances- but she's not to keen on the idea. Through some miscommunication and proximity they get to know and respect each other and do fall in love. I liked that the main female character was fiery and had her own opinions and the main male character grew to respect that. I felt that the love that grew between them was realistic. Many people complain about the sex scenes. they are few, well done and logical in the plot. This is not a cheesy romance novel. Sex plays an important part with marriage and alliances and to ignore that some women use sex for their own advantage -which is the case with the female antagonist- would be a disservice to the book.this book had a great balance of action and drama. Good world and character building and is definitely one of my favourites.

  • Rachel
    2019-03-21 09:23

    A blend of historical fiction, romance and fantasy, this book is set in 79 CE in ancient Scotland or Alba, amongst the Picts at the time the Romans are amassing under Agricola to invade them. Rhiann is the Ban Crė or priestess and princess of the royal line. Her duty is to provide the next heir to the throne, so she is married, unwillingly to Eremon, an exiled prince of Erin. Between the tensions of war, power struggles and adventure a romance is very slow to develop and its culmination seemed melodramatic and unnatural. The insight into the daily life of the Picts was interesting although I think a fair degree of liberty was taken with their religious practices. The characters were flawed but not fully developed. I felt irritated at the way stories often have a double standard with regards to sexual expectations on their heroes and heroines. The hero, it seems, cannot possibly be expected to restrain his sexual needs or be patient, but the heroine must maintain at least a semblance of purity. This denigrated their eventual connection for me somewhat and lessened Eremon's integrity as a character. Despite some of the melodramatic and over-written parts, this book was hard to put down. Reminiscent of Juliet Marillier.

  • Ashy
    2019-03-22 15:29

    2.5 starsThe pace is slow in this book, but I didn't mind that. I found most of the scenes interesting enough to keep reading. The main two characters are likeable, but I think I prefer Eremon more so than Rhiann, who was a bit thick headed. So... a couple of complaints... While the story is obviously made for adults, the writing seemed more suitable for a young adult book. I don't need an overly wordy book trying to show off with every word in the dictionary but, a little variation would go along way here. To be blunt, the plot kept me going, definitley not the writing. The inner dialogues of the various characters never really reflected their different identities. Surely a priestess and a warrior would think differently... But they all sounded the same, which was kind of like a 14 year old kid. Different opinions and thoughts yes, but no real flavour to their thinking. At times the writing just seemed overly simplistic and redundant. After 400 pages I was happy to reach the conclusion, but after all the build up and monotony of words, I'm not sure it was worth it. I do <3 Eremon though.