(Not a review, as such, although there are links to reviews. But some gorgeous art Shira commissioned for a promotion.)
The Alpennia books by Heather Rose Jones are everything I wanted when I was a teenager and I’m so happy they exist now–19th century costume drama fantasy taking place in a tiny imaginary country near France, Switzerland, and Italy, starring a bunch of lesbians who do magic or swordfight and also featuring bi women and a trans guy. The books are full of political intrigue, pretty clothing, all types of relationships between women from romantic to friendship to rival princesses.
[Mother of Souls] is a quiet book, not a flashy one. And Jones is ambitious in the kind of quiet stories she’s choosing to tell: it is an unusual choice in a fantasy novel to have the politics and sorcery, although an integral part of the story, come second (not co-equal with, but very definitely second) to character growth and development. Mother of Souls is an interesting novel, and a compelling one.
This is a Ruritanian fantasy. It’s also a pretty straight-ahead romance, which isn’t generally my thing, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. ... This is lots of fun, and Goodreads calls it “Alpennia #1” which implies there are more, so those are going on my long long TBR list for whenever I can get to them.
I generally don’t care for thrilling tales of the grasping upper classes unless those stories involve tumbrels and guillotines. Jones manages to sidestep my distaste by focusing on characters whose rank confers very little in the way of power...
Is Heather Rose Jones' Daughter of Mystery a lesbian romance? A work of historical fiction? A fantasy? An adventure story? A tale of court intrigue? After finishing the book earlier today, I'm not quite sure what genre to place it in. What I am certain, though, is that I closed the book with a distinct sense of feminist satisfaction.