The Swan Maiden. By Serene Conneeley

Young Gracie has a kind heart and a love of the beautiful black swan couple, Signet and Cobie, living in her neighbourhood park. She frequently visits the swans

The Swan maidenwith her mother; to feed them, watch them lovingly rear their babies and talk to them as if they were her dearest friends. When the male Swan Cobie is injured and is taken away by the Park Ranger, Gracie visits Signet often, reassuring her Cobie will be alright.

 

One day, Gracie comes to visit Signet but the little girl is distraught because her mother has died. Signet is filled with sorrow for Gracie, who she has come to care for. When Gracie’s tears fall into the pond, Signet decides to act. She remembers a tale of bird transforming into a human to help a young boy and she wonders if she can do the same for Gracie.

She swallows the water the tears have fallen into, and amazingly, she transforms into a human. However, there is a price to be paid for her sacrifice. Signet embarks on human life to help Gracie but in doing so, she must sacrifice not only her life as a swan but her own happiness.

Reminiscent of the ancient stories of the Selkies, who transformed into humans by shedding their skins, The Swan Maiden is a contemporary tale with a classic faery-tale feel. Signet as a woman, experiences fear and trepidation at her sudden new life and physical form. The transformation is difficult, frightening and physically painful and Conneeley expertly chronicles this.  Signet embarks on a journey to help Gracie cope with the loss of her Mum, and strengthen the relationship between Gracie and her father, while searching for her own true love, her swan husband Cobie. Serene Conneeley combines a love of faery-tales with an understanding of childhood, loss and hope.

The Swan Maiden is a truly charming and uplifting tale. A bright light in the darkness the world is facing right now and a joy to read.

Annette McQuarrie

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