Skip to main content

Longbow Girl

Review

Longbow Girl

From Linda Davies comes LONGBOW GIRL, perfect for anyone who watches “Doctor Who” or reads Ranger’s Apprentice. Set in Wales, Great Britain, this book tells the story of Merry Owen, a one-eyed archer who travels between the present and the time of the ancient book known as the Mabinogion. The Mabinogion is a collection of 11 stories from medieval Welsh manuscripts dating from around 1060 to 1200 --- one of them being the story of the Longbow Girl.

The well-to-do de Courcys and the down-on-their-luck Owens have remained tense neighbors for many generations. The protagonist Merry Owen strives to find a way to save her family’s farm from being taken by the de Courcys in both the past and present. When she finds the Mabinogion, she realizes it could save them. If she is lucky, situations in both the past and present can be resolved to benefit the Owen family. However, Merry soon discovers the book holds answers to many mysteries….

Author Linda Davies employs an interesting parallel structure in this novel with the past and present conflicts. The time travel and female hero will keep pre-teens engaged.

Author Linda Davies employs an interesting parallel structure in this novel with the past and present conflicts. In the present day, the Owen family struggles to pay its debt to keep the farm that has been their home for many generations. Likewise, in the past, the Owen family must fend for themselves farming and hunting when the father of the family is imprisoned. Merry sees to both conflicts, with the help of her best friend James de Courcy, though in different ways. In the past, she competes at a royal tournament to try to win her ancestor’s freedom and lands, despite being female. In the present, she tries to sell the Mabinogion book she found in the woods on the Owen land to save the farm.

The weakness in this novel is character development. The novel doesn’t have the feel of a coming-of-age story. Merry Owen doesn’t really change or grow during the course of the story. Even though Merry’s vision is compromised as she has only one eye, there is no emphasis of her overcoming challenges because of it, like an archery contest for example.

I would suggest this book for readers between the ages of 10-12. There is no foul language or romance. The reading level is not difficult, and the movements between the past and present create no difficulty to follow. The time travel and female hero will keep pre-teens engaged.

Reviewed by Cat S., Teen Board Member on March 2, 2016

Longbow Girl
by Linda Davies