Margerit Sovitre, goddaughter to the Baron Savitze had no idea that her fortune would change as drastically as it did when the Baron died. She was hoping for enough money for a dowry to afford her a good marriage but nothing more.
Barbara, the Baron’s duelist, was hoping to be set free when the old man died. Being owned by the eccentric and titled man was one thing but being passed on in his will was unexpected and devastating.
Estefen, the Baron’s closest living relative and an arrogant young man was certain that his future would be secured with the title of Baron passing onto him along with the great fortune that was his uncle’s.
All three were surprised when the will was read and none of them got what they were hoping for. Follow along as the mystery unfolds and slowly it becomes clear what secrets the Baron was holding close, what grudges the man had and perhaps even what strange fates he could foresee unfolding.
But can Margerit and Barbara forge new lives for themselves when things are so different from before? Can they learn to trust one another when so much is at stake and can they band together against the machinations of Estefen as he tries to overthrow the decisions laid out in the Baron’s will?
Sheena: There are number of characters in this novel. Even so, I was able to keep it relatively clear who each one was, a testament to the writing ability of Heather Rose Jones.
The characters were enjoyable and fun to read about. Each was well thought out, had a clear motive and was layered.
I also liked that while Barbara was more of a tomboy she wasn’t a traditional butch.
Tara: I’ll echo what Sheena said about the number of characters and how pleasantly surprised I was at being able to keep them all separate in my head.
Barbara and Margerit both had interesting and complex arcs, and while each journey was so different from the other’s, they were equally satisfying. About halfway through the book I was all about Barbara, because she’s so swoonworthy with her loyalty and sword skills. Now that I’ve finished it, though, I’m equally in love with Margerit, who wears her heart on her sleeve and lets no one push her around.
Sheena: This audiobook is divine. I absolutely loved the book so had high expectations from the audiobook but Kitty Kelly delivered a masterful performance, even managing to make a deep and complex story more accessible.
What Tara mentions about taking a little time to sink into the story is accurate of the read but I suspect that the audiobook bridges that gap and makes it faster to get into.
Another thing I realised when listing rather than reading is that the audiobook somehow makes the romantic tension between Barbara and Margerit more evident and pulls this story into the light romance category. I think the tension was always there but the masterful performance of Kitty Kelly highlights it.
The Writing Style
Sheena: This was a dense book that you have to read while paying attention. The story is complex, the characters and motivations are deep and nothing is repeated.
I enjoyed it. Daughter of Mystery was a really good read. Jones managed an intricate web that ended is a satisfying conclusion.
Tara: Heather Rose Jones is a master and in building Alpennia, she delivers a world that feels authentically European of a time gone by. Her use of language makes it feel like we’re reading something by a 19th century author (with, of course, more magic), much like Susanna Clarke does in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
I also appreciated that while Daughter of Mystery has a romance, it is NOT a romance novel. It’s historical fantasy at its finest, with enough action, adventure, and mystery to keep things exciting.
Sheena: I loved discovering Alpennia. The world that Jones built was rich and textured. It was great fun learning about creating mysteries, how the politics in the country worked, how society worked and what was considered proper.
Tara: Everything? Like, literally everything? The worldbuilding is top-notch, the character work is superb, the plotting is intricate, and it all makes for a singularly excellent experience.
Sheena: There were no real cons for me. It was a good read.
Tara: I wouldn’t actually call this a con, but it’s not a book I found easy to immediately sink into. It requires attention and that’s difficult in a house with two small kids like mine. That said, once I was able to carve out time, it had me hooked and you could have set a bomb off at my house and I wouldn’t have noticed.
Sheena: Jones creates a masterful blend of historical and fantastical elements, rich politics, social niceties and hierarchies along with the mystery of uncovering secrets and working within the scope of what women are allowed.
I absolutely love this book and the audiobook somehow makes it even better.
The production quality and narration brought to the table is simply perfect. I highly recommend this for your audiobook library.
This is the first book the Alpennia series and I highly recommend you read them all.
Tara: I don’t know why it took me so long to read this book and I’m so mad that it did! As soon as I finished it, I texted Sheena to tell her that my guts were on the floor. I cannot get over this book—it’s magical in every sense of the word, it has passion and brilliance, and it’s gorgeously written. It’s hands down the best book I’ve read in a damn long while and I cannot recommend it enough.
Sheena: Tara’s delay in reading this book had nothing to do with me. I kept telling her to read it, just so you all know.
Excerpt from Daughter Of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones
“Enter!”Barbara stepped in, wearing the riding clothes Margerit had seen her in the day before.
“Mesner, I wondered if you needed anything.”She glanced over briefly but whatever message she intended was unclear.
“If I need something, you can be sure I’ll ring for it,” the baron said impatiently. “Go away.” And then when the door had closed again, “She worries over me like a mother hen.” Margerit felt his sharp glance. “If you have something to say, out with it.” She shook her head and his mouth twisted as if she’d failed some test. “I hear you share Barbara’s fondness for poetry. What do you think of my armin?”
“She…interests me.” How to express the idea that in the duellist she sensed a kindred spirit, as out of tune with what everyone expected of her as she felt?
“I promised you her story, didn’t I,” he said. “It’s not a tale I tell often. People get the strangest ideas when you tell them you own a young woman. People are mostly fools.”
Get It Online
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The Alpennia Series
Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 978-1594933806
Publisher: Bella Books
Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Kitty Kelly
Audiobook Length: 13 hours and 52 minutes
If you enjoyed this book then check out our podcast where Tara, April and I talk about this book – there are spoilers so read the book first
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