In Heather Rose Jones’s Alpennia women’s lives are central: their complex, richly-imagined relationships, their talents and skills, their resourcefulness and strengths. Yet this is not a “domestic” tale in the sense of smallness of scope; the fate of Alpennia (and its European neighbors) is at stake as the land comes under magical attack, and the key to its defeat lies in the gifts of the women and their ability to work cooperatively. With intelligence and insight, Jones spins a tale of international intrigue, suspense, treachery, and loyalty.
Jones creates a world with political intrigue, class systems, women who long for freedom and magic in its many forms. I don’t know if I have ever read another author who so seamlessly blends as many disparate elements all into a compelling series with books as unique as each main character.
This story took me all the way back to the Regency era and my favorite books from that period such as Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre but this novel stands apart because it possesses an enchanting twist of fantasy and magical elements that blew my mind.
Floodtide is a measured, character-focused novel: if its main protagonists were of a higher class, it would easily fit into the mould of a “novel of manners.” It’s also a coming-of-age of sorts: Roz is a well-meaning little idiot whose process of growing up and learning not to make assumptions about other people based on preconceptions is a compelling one to watch. And Roz’s voice, as she narrates the events of the novel, is a convincing one.
I really enjoyed the slow unravelling of the plot, and the calm, steady pacing. It built-up tension in both the ‘main’ plot and all the relationships, leaving you on the edge of your seat. I loved the way everything tied together at the end and all the little domestic details of the book
Jones’ Alpennia Series isn’t really about romance but it is about love. She writes “found family” better than anyone I’ve read. I’m fascinated by our queer foremothers and these books have fleshed out one universe where people who love other people of the same gender not only survive but they thrive. More than that they look out for each other, and in Floodtide we find out the affinity for people like themselves, people different in notable ways, transcends race and class.