Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones is the first book in the Alpennia series. It is about Barbara, an armin (bodyguard) to the Baron Saveze and Margerit, the baron’s goddaughter. They are brought together in the days before the Baron’s death and find their lives forever altered at the reading of his will.
Margerit did not expect to inherit the baron’s fortune, let alone his bodyguard, Barbara.
The Baron sent a clear message to Estefen, his nephew, by passing on the title of baron and not much more to his expectant heir. Estefen seethes at the injustice and plots revenge on Margerit.
Barbara, in the mean time, is battling her feelings of betrayal at not being released when the Baron died while trying to get used to working for Margerit and seeing to her safety.
She also struggles with the fact that the baron died without telling her who her parents were and she endeavours to find out more about her own history.
Jones builds an intricate web for us to unravel on our journey through Alpennia as we follow Barbara and Margerit on a journey where they discover themselves and their love for one another.
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.
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: I wish Tolkien could have written like this. Daughter of Mystery was a far better read than Lord Of The Rings. The writing is clean and well thought out. The world building is superb and the characters are memorable. Someone needs to send Peter Jackson a copy of this book so that he can make this into a feature film series.
This is a must-read for anyone looking for a fantasy novel. It is well worth it for lesbian fantasy seekers or who those who love a good, complex read without knowing what will come next.
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 This Book On Amazon
The Alpennia Series
Daughter Of Mystery
Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9781594933806
Publisher: Bella Books
Note: I received a free review copy of The Daughter Of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones. No money was exchanged for this review.