Monday, January 30, 2012

Once a Goddess by Sheila R. Lamb

Recently I read a novel by Sheila R. Lamb entitled Once a Goddess which is the first installment of what is to be a trilogy on Brigid of Ireland. As the title notes, the trilogy starts of with a focus on Brigid as a Goddess. The next book in the series is about Brigid as a Druid, and is expected to come out in the Summer of 2012; the final book will be about her as a Saint, and a release date is yet to be determined.

Here is a mini bio about the author from her site:

Sheila Lamb is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte. Her stories have appeared in Steel Toe Review, Soundzine, Referential Magazine, Santa Fe Writers Project, and elsewhere. Her short story Swim is a Pushcart nominee.

Sheila writes across a wide variety of genres, including short fiction, historical fiction, and educational curricula. A former history teacher, she has traveled throughout Ireland and participated in the Achill Archaeological Field School. She’s now a librarian and is currently at work on the rest of the Brigid trilogy as well as a short story collection.

You can find out more about her other published works and see her nifty blog on her website as well.

While some folks might disagree with the author's representations of Brigid as "aspects", as opposed to the Goddess and Brigid of Kildare being two completely different personalities, I hope that this wouldn't detour them from giving this book a try. {I lean towards thinking that they are two individuals and I enjoyed reading it nonetheless.}

The setting of the book is taken from The First Battle of Mag Tuired & The Second Battle of Mag Tuired, during which the Tuatha Dé Danann have a whole bunch of drama with the Fomorians and Fir Bolg.

It is no small task to take on such myths, put your own spin on it, and to do it well. Add into the mix picky readers such as myself and you've got a mountain to climb. Sheila has done a wonderful job filling in the gaps that one tends to find in many myths. With her insertion of more back story and "mundane" emotions, I think that most readers could relate to the characters quite easily.

There were a couple "who's who" mix-ups in the book, such as Morrígan being portrayed as a Fomorian instead of one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. This did irk me a bit, but most readers probably wouldn't care {I freely admit that I am a snob in this department!}. Overall though I think that this book is beautifully written and it is evident that a lot of love went into creating it.

If you like Irish mythology, are a devotee to Brigid, or if you simply enjoy reading "Goddess" genre, you should definitely give Once a Goddess a read. It is available in both paperback and ebook formats.




Jess @ The Secret DMS FIles of Fairday Morrow said...

Thanks for the review- I am also incredibly picky when it comes to an author putting their own spin on mythology. BUT, when it's done well, it's awesome- Neil Gaiman is wonderful at this. Glad I stopped by! This book sounds interesting, I think I would like it!

Hertha said...

I just might give this book a try!