What was the name of this fantasy novel from my childhood?
April 20, 2014 10:18 PM   Subscribe

I am searching for the name of a fantasy novel from childhood, which has been calling to me lately in a way that may greatly inform my artwork. It has been fruitless to google, as I can only remember certain clues about its plotline and cover illustration. Help me, metafilter! The internet is great but some quandaries need humans. (Read extended explanation for the clues)

1. I read it when I was about 12-14 (1999-2001). I believe it was contemporary or recent (probably from the 90s). I believe it was part of a small series.
2. Main character was a teenage girl whose father was the leader of their forest tribe. The characters were white, probably set in a European-type wilderness (though this was never defined-- definitely a fantastical setting with no real history as far as place or date.)
3. Main plot involved the father (king of the tribe) teaching his daughter the ways of the warrior. This led her to defy traditional womanly roles. She left the tribe go off on her own adventures throughout the forest, and this is where most of the stories take place.
4. Cover illustration probably involved the main character looking tiny in scale amidst giant, old growth trees. Maybe on a bridge over a river. She was given weapons by her father, but had to craft some of her own clothing, leading her to wear skins and natural armor.
5. The name "Rowan" or "Rowena" MAY have been involved, it comes to mind, but I wouldn't want this to skew the answer in the wrong direction (I have already looked through many of the Rowan and Rowena-named novels out there and they aren't the one. It may be that a variation on this word was used as the name of a more insignificant part of the book.

I would be grateful for any help!!
posted by kaspen to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
Ronia the robbers daughter by Astrid Lindgren?
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 10:36 PM on April 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

Could it possibly be Clan of the Cave Bear and its various sequels? That's a prehistoric setting rather than straight fantasy, but it does have the forest tribe and the girl breaking taboos by learning to be a warrior plot.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:39 PM on April 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ronia the Robber's Daughter was my first thought, too.
posted by cupcakeninja at 2:34 AM on April 21, 2014

Dammit, came in to say Ronia the Robber's Daughter.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 5:39 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Could the "Rowena" part you remember be related to the cover art? She usually signs her name in a completely legible way, same as Boris.
posted by interrobang at 8:06 AM on April 21, 2014

Definitely jumping on the Ronia bandwagon. Cover?

(I read it as a kid and couldn't remember the title till college, when I was telling a friend about this fantastic book with harpies and dwarves and adventure, and she pulled it off of her bookshelf and put it in my hand. Best book friend ever.)
posted by pepper bird at 10:45 AM on April 21, 2014

Response by poster: i think Maude is dead on! Amazing that you had this answer for me within 5 minutes of my post on easter sunday :) I need to go read a few pages before I mark this resolved-- but i am 95% sure it is Ronia the Robber's Daughter. thanks, you have no idea how long i've been wondering!
posted by kaspen at 2:37 PM on April 21, 2014

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