The Forest Bride by O. S. S. Ifere is a timeless story of impossible love, pure devotion, and the never ending fight between light and darkness, infused with strands of dazzling magic.
There is a beauty in the language of this book and a charm in its storytelling. The narrative is crisp and vivid, painting clear pictures in every reader’s mind. This is a valuable skill of prose that has been perfectly wielded and utilized to pleasure the audience, a feat that deserves praise if anything truly does.
From the suspenseful twists of the plot to the glitz and glamour of culture and tradition as they shine out of the words, it is impossible to ignore the fluidity and grace with which the author so artistically works through the pages. It is simply wondrous.
This book is an outburst of joy, a cheerful celebration of the beauty of our culture and the richness of our own land. The scenery, the deities and indeed the very language itself bring delightful spurts of pride because they showcase the full and rich breath of our heritage. Even though this is a mythical work of imagination, it aligns in perfect symmetry with our reality and gives us a reason to be proud of the places our ancestors were born and the way they lived.
The Forest Bride is a simple story about love that runs deep and true. If I had my way, I’d call it “The Romeo and Juliet That Lived.” Against the odds of society, caste, status and even the very essence of being, our two heroes come together in love and complete adoration of each other. They bare the meaning of the feeling to us, an emotion that means loyalty, sacrifice and the choice to wake up every morning and always choose the same person to stand by.
Mamerhi and Erhinyoja show us what it means to put a person above all else and how much distance one really covers to go the extra mile. Amidst speculations and accusations, they display such a bond that was forged in the very heat of their deep emotions for each other, cast in solid iron. There really is a lesson to be learnt from them, about trust and keeping one’s word to the very end, wherever the road might lead.
I wouldn’t be doing this book justice if I did not take a moment to shine the spotlight on Mamerhi. In a world where spirits detest humans, and people run in fright of the gods, she takes a chance on love. Trusting nothing but her own judgement and the seeming goodwill of a prince she barely knows, she risks her identity and her roots to be with him. She ties his mortal being to her eternal form, takes his home and makes it hers and cares for his people like her own. Even when everything feels pointless and all she has to do is order a single strike to wipe all the wickedness and evil out of the hearts of men, she chooses instead, to see the good at the expense of her own happiness and, very nearly, soul. This single act makes her more human than most of us.
I only wish the book was longer, because really such wonder should go on forever!