Eliza, Strange and Random Happenstance
Mother of Souls is the first book in Heather Rose Jones's Alpennian series that I feel achieved it's full potential. With each book building off the previous volume everything started to click into place over time and here with the larger cast of characters there was a better balance than just the two previous couples featured. ...among all these characters there is a strong theme of female empowerment running rife. This book is a rallying cry, as is the opera Luzie writes about the female philosopher Tanfrit who is only remembered through her connection to the male philosopher Gaudericus! Women have been told to be quiet for far too long! Men are always keeping us down and taking credit for what we do and when that can't work just erasing us from history. I literally can not think of a woman who won't identify with Luzie's relationship with the composer Fizeir.
Abduction attempts, social sabotage and political intrigue follow, with both women in over their heads and dependent on each other for survival. This could so easily have been a story romanticising an abuse of power but Jones skillfully avoids that, with Margarite carefully keeping her feelings hidden until circumstances change to put them on an equal footing.
Kate Cudahy, Personal Blog
You know that joy you have when you first discover what it means to read for pleasure as a kid? That sense of losing yourself in another person’s imagination, of finding yourself so invested in their characters that you’re willing them on: that they become, if only for a brief moment, part of the fabric of your own mental world? This is precisely the joy I experienced reading The Mystic Marriage.
Kate Cudahy, Personal Blog
The world building is superlative – I never felt that I was being spoon-fed when I read this novel. The author fleshes out sufficient space for the reader to make sense of Alpennia as both a reflection of 19th century Europe and its ‘other’ – a realm of fantasy in which our awareness of religion and history might be turned on its head. The prose style both challenged and entertained, and I found myself unable to stop turning the pages as the narrative reached its climax.
Rachel, Rustling Reads
Daughter of Mystery is a book which really, properly examines its magic system, and completely wonderful to read if you’re at all interested in the mechanics of a fantasy world. There are no easy answers here. Yet it does not forget its roots in historical fiction either, with recognisable and well-loved tropes such as chance meetings, issues of inheritance and propriety, and secret identities. There’s a marvellous eye for detail in everything from style of dress to archaic law in a way that even I, as a novice in historical fiction, was able to engage with and enjoy.
Cameron MacElvee, Chasing the Po (no longer public, but the same review is on Amazon)
This was...one of the sweetest love stories I have read in a long time. Barbara and Margerit are believable in their roles, particularly Margerit who is at first a bit clueless about her feelings that develop for Barbara. When I began reading, I suspected that Jones would take us down the old trite road of an antagonistic relationship between the heiress Margerit and her initially reluctant bodyguard Barbara in order to heighten the sexual tension. But she didn't. She gave us something new - a genuine friendship built upon their shared interest in philosophy and theology. Their discussions about the meaning of texts and translations were some of my favorite dialog. One of my favorite romantic scenes happens as Barbara, more skilled in language, translates the love lament of an opera to Margerit, holding her gaze as she does.