Taisie MacDonnell is a quiet girl who loves knitting and Celtic music. When a traditional Irish group moves to her small town of Antrim, Maine, she’s thrilled. And that the handsome pipe player she met at a fair is one of the band members makes it all the more exciting. Conn McLaren and his siblings that make up the band, The Black Swans, are wanderers, moving from place to place. They have a secret that they must hide, a curse they have been under for many years, placed on them by the Fae at the behest of their step-mother, Aoife. Taisie has no idea that becoming involved with Conn, the handsome pipe player, will enmesh her in magic, a centuries-old enchantment and pursuit by the Fae. This book is a modern retelling of the old Irish story “The Children of Lir”.
Sissy: This is the first book in the “Tales of the Antrim Cycle” series, which feature romance and magical happenings in the small town of Antrim, Maine. Author N. W. Moors, a native of Maine, is currently working on the second book, which she hopes will be finished this summer (hurry!). The keywords I used above are “romance” and “magical happenings,” and if these words cause the happy anticipation in you that they caused in me, then you are in for a lovely treat. If you add to those key words “wonderfully engaging writing,” then you’ll be describing The Black Swans.
Bubby: It must be something in my United Kingdom DNA, but stories based on old Celtic/Irish lore make me very happy. I’ve always loved the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson versions of this story (titled The Wild Swans or The Six Swans etc.), and this retelling does the story justice. The modern setting and the musical aspect just make it that much more appealing. The cursed (or enchanted) McLaren siblings form the musical group “The Black Swans” and tour the country playing traditional Irish/Celtic music. One particularly poignant moment was when Conn plays and sings the love song “My Lagan Love” and dedicates it to Taisie. Click on the image below to hear Celtic Woman’s version.
Sissy: The romance between Conn and Taisie is beautiful and full of anguish, and the storyline was so compelling I had to keep reading deep in the night to find out what happened. I thought that the ending was almost too short; I would have liked to have the last chapters extended some, even if that meant a longer book or even two books! The subject matter (shadow worlds, the Fae, etc.) was fascinating. Bubby mentioned her love of fairy tales–when she was six years old a part of our property caught on fire, and she ran into the house to save her valuables. What did she come out with? Her anthology of fairy tales!
Bubby: It’s a true story! I was sure I was going to die. Hopefully Sissy has learned from that experience that if one throws an aerosol can in the outside burn barrel, bad things happen! Luckily the damage was minimal and no one was hurt. You should also know that I have replaced that book four times in the last several years, and I still love it. A central theme of The Black Swans is that swans mate for life, which is really romantic and everything, but I felt so bad for Conn’s brothers, who found their mates hundreds of years ago, and sadly outlived them. I hope in the sequel Ms. Moors finds a way to remedy that situation, because nobody should have to live without love!
Sissy: You weren’t supposed to mention the cause of the fire, sister who throws me under the bus! I, too, felt bad for the other McLaren boys, but I thought the relationship between Nola and her mate Owen was beautiful. All in all The Black Swans by N. W. Moors was captivating and had all the elements I look for in a lovely escape read. Looking for the next Tale of the Antrim Cycle to darken my door soon!
Bubby: I wish N. W. Moors had started writing years ago so that I could have a whole shelf of her books to turn to when I want something magical and mystical that leaves me with that moonstruck lovey-dovey feeling. Maybe I’ll just have to go and read The Black Swans again instead.
Click HERE to buy The Black Swans by N.W. Moors
N.W. Moors lives in Portland, Maine, the land of lobster and pine trees. She grew up in Connecticut and retired north(it’s nice along the coast in winter). She’s a voracious reader and avid traveler – she loves to visit Great Britain and Ireland. Researching trips meant that she tries to learn as much about the area as possible and listen to great Celtic music. She’s also a knitter and hiker/walker with two cats(the cats don’t walk).
She truly appreciates you sharing this adventure with her. She will continue to write about magic, love, and the small town of Antrim, Maine. Please leave reviews and like her Facebook page or follow her blog or twitter feed for further updates.
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