This is a small book and as such, the reader might consider this a quick and easy read. It isn’t. The writing style is academic with long complex sentences that talk around the topic. There is a chapter on the primary sources of the myths concerning Rhiannon and five pages of a bibliography at the end of the book. Maddeningly, there is a Welsh pronunciation guide at the end using linguistic language most readers are not going to bother with.
When the author starts retelling the myth the writing improves, and becomes engaging. Telyndru talks about Rhiannon's role in the three branches, but during the third branch, there is more told about Rhiannon's second husband and son than about her. It feels as if the author forgot that Rhiannon was her focus. There are a number of stories told that have little or nothing to do with Rhiannon. Once she is done talking about myths with minimal connections to Rhiannon, she starts on the historical measurement of land and geography. This returns to the academic writing.
Telyndru discusses the lack of written history because the Celts had an oral history. Rhiannon was written about during the medieval period in a Christianized society. She was not considered a goddess although later writings portray her as larger than life. This leads to her being raised to goddess status. She does a thorough job of covering the facts and myths of Rhiannon, the writing is generally academic in nature making it dry and difficult to read. There doesn't appear to be any connection other than that of studying a woman of power at a time when women were powerless.
The reviews and back cover say this is a sophisticated and elegant discussion on the sovereignty and connection of Rhiannon. Unfortunately, Rhiannon the person gets lost in all the writing. More time is spent on the men surrounding Rhiannon then on Rhiannon herself. Between the tone of the language and the lack of concrete information the reader finds herself with a book filled with associated information, presented poorly.
~review by Eileen Troemel
Author: Jheanah Telyndru
Moon Books, 2018