10-05-2017

by Mishal Faraz

Mishal (far right) with Emirates Literature Foundation Chief Operating Officer, Yvette Judge

Longbow Girl is an absolutely engaging and enthralling book written by British author Linda Davies.

The book is set in the breathtakingly refreshing wilds of the Welsh mountains. If I had to categorize it, I would call it a historical thriller fiction. The book transports the reader back in time to the autocratic kingdom of King Henry VIII.

But the book does not open in the time of the British autocrat. The world we are introduced to is that of the 21st century. The protagonist is a 15 years old girl, Merry Owen, who lives on a farm with her parents and baby brother. Her family are enemies with the de Courcy family which lives opposite them in the ominously named Black Castle. The de Courcy family would not spare any chance of usurping the humble Owen land which was given to the latter centuries ago for saving the life of the Black Prince. In stark contrast to the bitter rivalry between the Owens and de Courcys is the strong bond of friendship between Merry and the de Courcy’s son, James.

After an unfortunate incident, Merry’s family owe the bank 60,000 pounds. They fear that they would have to sell their land to be able to do this. And who would like to take advantage of this situation? The de Courcys of course!

In a quirk of fate, Merry comes across an ancient book which talks of a captivating prophecy that an “Angel Warrior” with blond hair will come forward and save the day. The book catches a riveting pace as Merry discovers the River of Time which transports her back 500 years. Without giving away much of the plot, the onus of saving the generation gone by as well as safe-guarding the present now lies in the well-trained hands of Merry – the Longbow Girl… and the Angel Warrior!

This book is a must read for it has this hauntingly mesmerizing feel to it. The oscillation between the present and past has been handled with a master stroke. The book also celebrates the human spirit that we can become something that we never dreamed of when it comes to protecting the ones we love. That we are stronger and braver than we think.

The book is also an ode to Linda Davies’ own childhood spent blissfully with longbows and ponies – as she says herself in the acknowledgements – a “girl and pony with incredible freedom.”

Read this fabulous piece of work, an absolute page turner, to be inspired and thrilled!

You can listen to Mishal’s review on Talking of Books on Dubai Eye below: