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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Novel of Avalon & The Lady Of The Lake
Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Forest House" is a prequel to her bestselling Arthurian novel, "The Mists of Avalon." Both novels revolve around the goddess religion in early Britain. "The Forest House," set in 1st century Roman ruled Britannia, is the home of Druidic priestesses who keep the ancient rites of learning, healing, and magic lore...
Published on April 22, 2004 by Jana L. Perskie

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book - historical interesting, but too long at times.
"The Forest House" (or "The Forests of Avalon") is a good book, no doubt - but it is not as good as "The Mists Of Avalon", by any means. The book is too long compaired to the content of the story, but it is written very well - if not as good as "The Mists...". The characters are very well described, but not always totally...
Published on October 23, 1999


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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Novel of Avalon & The Lady Of The Lake, April 22, 2004
Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Forest House" is a prequel to her bestselling Arthurian novel, "The Mists of Avalon." Both novels revolve around the goddess religion in early Britain. "The Forest House," set in 1st century Roman ruled Britannia, is the home of Druidic priestesses who keep the ancient rites of learning, healing, and magic lore. Ms. Bradley writes of the Roman conquest of Celtic Britain and the political and religious implications of the occupation. Roman rule also impacted the role of women in Britain. Goddess worship, women's freedom and power waned under the Romans. This novel gives the author's historical version of Avalon and the Lady of the Lake.
Eilan, the daughter of a Druidic warrior and granddaughter of Ardanos, Arch-Druid of Britannia, is gifted with the "sight" and has longed to serve the Goddess as a healer-priestess in the Forest House. She meets and falls in love with Gauis, a half Roman-half British youth, and son of the Roman Prefect Macellius Severus, second-in-command in Britainnia. They want to marry but are forbidden. Heartbroken, Eilan fulfills her original wish and dedicates herself to the Lady. Ms. Bradley blends a fascinating story with accurate research to give the reader a good picture of early Britain and the various political, cultural and religious factions, both local and Roman, which vied for power there.
Bradley's narrative is clear and her plot is believable, as are her characters. I prefer "The Mists of Avalon," not just because of the subject matter, but because the plot and characters are more complex. However, this is a solid novel with a sound plot and worth the read.
JANA
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spell-binding!, March 15, 2000
I read the series backwards, and all three books were equally wonderfull. The Mists of Avalon I actually think is the best one, but the Forest House is the first in the series and is positively beautifull. I wish I would have started out in the right direction. This book practicly glues you to the story in the first chapter and keeps you there till the end. You endur the trials and feel the strength of the characters as if you were really there. Bradley works her magic bringing you into a realistic story that spins you into a world full of magic, action and romance. This is a can't miss book.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Although not quite as good as MISTS OF AVALON, July 15, 2004
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Jeanne Tassotto (Trapped in the Midwest) - See all my reviews
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this prequel is still excellent.
The story is set in the days of Roman occupation of Britain. Gaius, a young Roman officer and son of the local Roman commandant with his British wife has met and fallen in love with Eilan, the daughter of a powerful Druid family. Neither family approves of the match and forces the two apart. For the rest of their lives they met again and again only to be torn apart. Ultimately their unfulfilled love sets the stage for the events in MISTS OF AVALON.
The story is again told, at least in part, from a feminine point of view. As in MISTS there is a greek tragedy feel of unescapable doom. The characters are engaging and 'feel real', the plot is compeling making this a book that is hard to put down. It does not quite live up to MISTS due at least in part, to its more simplistic story line. Unlike MISTS' numerous story lines THE FOREST HOUSE focuses on Eilan and Gaius with Caillean, a priestess of the Forest House filling in gaps. This prequel is also significantly shorter. Still for any fan of MISTS OF AVALON this is a must read and would be enjoyable on its own as well.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book - historical interesting, but too long at times., October 23, 1999
By A Customer
"The Forest House" (or "The Forests of Avalon") is a good book, no doubt - but it is not as good as "The Mists Of Avalon", by any means. The book is too long compaired to the content of the story, but it is written very well - if not as good as "The Mists...". The characters are very well described, but not always totally realistic. The force of the book is the historical facts about the Roman occupation, and it gives a new perspective to "The Mists..." because the celtic religion is described. Also, a lot of information about the religious background of the characters in "The Mists..." is given. Should be read if you liked "The Mists...". (P.S. I'm sory that my english isn't perfect.)
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Beauty, June 2, 1999
By A Customer
Bradely has out done herself with this book. The characters were so alive, all of them. When they went through their hard times I felt like I was right there with them. I cheered on Eilan and booed Ardanos. And in the end I felt the pain they went through. This whole series has been so spell binding that's it's uncanny. To think that a mere mortal or human wrote this series, is simply unfathomable. I feel they have given me inspiration and happiness among many other feelings. Marion Zimmer Bradley has made me laugh, cry, love, and hurt with her series of books, and I can only pray that there's more where this has come from. The woman behind these books should be more recognized. I hope there is a day when the name Marion Zimmer Bradley is a name that is known in every family. I would also recomend this book to anyone who likes to read Arthurian Legend. And for these people I have one more piece of advice. I read this series out of order. I would suggest that you read Forest House first. Then Lady of Avalon, then Mists. I praise Bradley for the hundreds of pages of joy and amazment she has given me. Thank you very much.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow., November 1, 2000
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This book really stayed with me. I received it as a gift, and since I do not normally enjoy British/Druidic lore, I really started reading it out of politeness. But almost as soon as I began it I was hooked. Extremely well written, encompassing fascinating themes, and with a haunting reality to the characters and to pagan lore and rituals, it was riveting throughout. I also found the Roman history and politics involved interesting, and the changing/dying role of the 'old' religion with the onset of Christianity.
I have now read it twice, and will definitely be reading Mists of Avalon, since I feel as though I would like to "stay in touch" with the characters and their descendants. I am very interested to see how this book will tie into Bradley's retelling of the Arthurian legend for which I understand it is the precursor. I reccomend it highly!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MZB does it again, January 6, 2006
By 
AuroraBug (St Augustine, FL United States) - See all my reviews
Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon novels continue to compel and inspire even after her death, and _The Forest House_ is certainly no exception. After becomong obsessed with _The Mists of Avalon_, I had no idea there were other books in the semi-series until I found a copy of _The Forest House_ in a used book store, and read it in only a day or so. If you liked _Mists_, this novel won't disappoint.

I also recommend you start with _The Fall of Atlantis_, and then continue reading the books in chronological order, which places Diana Paxson's _Ancestors of Avalon_ next, followed by _Lady of Avalon_, _The Forest House_ and finally _The Mists of Avalon_.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Drivel, pure and commercial., July 5, 1999
By A Customer
M. Z. B. wrote a seminal book in The Mists Of Avalon. Well researched, well written, and utterly absorbing. The whole book hangs together as a complex tale covering three generations, don't read it once, read it three times. The Forest House is a prequel leading nowhere. A promising beginning, a middling middle,... and no ending, it just sorts of tails off... The last page is not a disappointment, it's a relief - and thank the Goddess that I read The Mists Of Avalon first. I can't help feeling that this book, and others she has written in the same vein, lack the passion, the vision, and are only written with one thing in mind, to milk the market after a truly brilliant novel. Read Mists Of Avalon first and avoid all her other offerings or risk disappointment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, January 13, 2005
The Forest House is the prequel to The Mists of Avalon, even though the "prequel" was written many years later than the "sequel." Like Mists, The Forest House is a wonderful book, one that I could not put down once I got past the slightly dry beginning. Never mind that the girl on the cover looks like a stoned Callista Flockhart/Ally McBeal. The main character, Elian, is just as engaging as Morgaine, the main character of Mists. Anyone who loved Mists will be delighted with this book, full of the same Druid mysticism and ancient Britainnian history.

The story is about Elian, and how she falls in love with a Roman soldier, torn between her love for him and her duties as a chosen priestess of the Forest House, a house where vestal virgins worship the goddess. The setting is when the Romans occupied what is now England, and ruled with an iron fist all of the native peoples, including Elian's family of Druids. The Druids have a tolerate-hate relationship with the Romans, mostly hate.

There are many fascinating characters in this book. The research that went into both this and Mists is staggering. To me it is amazing that Marion Zimmer Bradley had time to write both of these books in her lifetime.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3rd book in the Mists series doesn't dissapoint, July 18, 2006
By 
Monarch (San Fran Bay area, California) - See all my reviews
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This book is the third book in the Mists of Avalon series, following "The Fall of Atlantis" and "Ancestors of Avalon." Although this book starts far later than the ending of the previous book, and with all new characters, there are bits and pieces of the characters that tie them in as reincarnations of characters from the previous books, including bindings that they've made with each other before.

As with all the books in this series, I found this one to be very spiritual. It gives a sense of connectedness with the past and Pagan spiritualness.

This story takes place in 1st century AD, when the priestesses and Druids are mostly practicing to the north of Avalon, and then covers the priestesses and Druids moving to Avalon to establish there. This lineage will go through to "The Mists of Avalon."

The situations and characters in this book have their stories continued in the first part of the book "Lady of Avalon."
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The Forest House
The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Hardcover - October 7, 1993)
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