Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones is the fourth book in the delightful Alpennia series but it can be read as a standalone novel.

The busy streets of Rotenek are dangerous for a young country girl who has lost her job as a laundry maid. Roz wasn’t even given a reference of good character in order for her to find another job because she committed a great sin according to Rotenek society. Roz knew that she had to get off of the streets and find another job and somewhere to live soon because she couldn’t tolerate being hungry, cold and scared for much longer. She was all alone in a large and unfamiliar city so she turned to Dominique, the dressmaker for assistance.

Things always have a way of working out and Roz experiences this first hand when she is employed by Maisetra Margerit Sovitre, the royal thaumaturgist. Thanks to Margerit, Roz is able to learn the fine art of dressmaking under Dominique’s guidance and work as a laundry maid at Tiporsel House. Celeste, the dressmaker’s daughter draws Roz into the enigmatic world of charmwork. When unexpected floodwaters and a fatal fever spreads throughout the city of Rotenek, Celeste’s magical ability to heal people with the use of charmwork could save the lives of the poor and downtrodden people of the city but only if Roz can convince a few people in high places to help their cause.

Will Roz and Celeste be able to get the help they need so that they could save the people of Rotenek or will all their efforts and hard work be in vain?

The Characters

April: Rozild, better known as “Roz” is a laundry maid and she has been hired by Margerit Sovitre. Roz knows that she is extremely lucky to be hired by Margerit because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a young girl like her, especially after she was thrown out of her last place of employment because of unseemly behavior. There were many times where I desperately wished that I could have gone through my kindle because I wanted to give Roz a lot of warm and comforting hugs. Roz has been through so many heartbreaking situations and she has had a rough time with giving her heart to others but she is always willing to reach out and help someone else despite the high personal price she might have to pay for her good deeds.

Celeste is passionate about charmwork and being able to use her charms to help others. Celeste has many dreams that she grudgingly puts aside because she is the daughter of Dominique, the dressmaker.  Dominique is counting on Celeste to help her meet the demands and orders from their clients and she wants Celeste to continue in her footsteps because dressmaking is a safe and respectable position whereas charmwork could put her life at risk. I’ve gotta admit that it took me a while to warm up to Celeste because she was often very blunt and unapologetic with her opinions, however, I eventually developed a soft spot for her because she genuinely cares about the welfare of her neighbors, she possesses an uncanny ability to read people and she is socially awkward. How can I not like someone who is just as quirky as I am?

Sheena: Younger characters can often go wrong because of oversimplification by the author. They may not have a lot of life experience but they are complex creatures. There is a line between naïve and stupid that authors need to tread carefully if they want people to enjoy reading in this sector. Jones did a fabulous job of keeping the main character interesting and young but not stupid. Roz was a believable character and the way Jones described her desire for women was perfect for her age and the time in which the book was set.

One of this authors greatest strengths is her ability to write complex, individual characters and have them interact believably with other complex, individual characters. This is a rare and beautiful gift to the world of literature. And it’s so exciting to read a book where characters that you know and love from previous books don’t all love the new character immediately. There are tensions that are both believable and enhance the characters and story.

The Writing Style

April: I know that I’m going to come across as a shameless fangirl but I just love the world building in all of Heather Rose Jones’s stories! This story is unique and dear to my heart because every event is mostly told through Roz’s eyes. I got a frank, up-close and personal portrayal of what life was like for a working class girl who is far away from her family or any kind of established social support other than the church when she loses her position in a big city like Rotenek. Heather Rose Jones deserves the highest of fives because she has created a world that I could easily relate to and characters that I have grown rather fond of.

Sheena: I agree, the world that Jones creates is both unique and yet not so far removed that lovers of historical novels won’t enjoy it. And the way she adds the elements of magic is just brilliant. Every book explores a slight variation on the way magic works in this world. This is just one of the many elements that keep the series feeling fresh and delightful, even with this being the fourth book.

The Pros

April: 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. I had the pleasure of meeting up with some of the characters from the previous books and I also enjoyed experiencing the city life, the customs, mores and class structure of Rotenek society through Roz, Celeste, Liv and Iulien’s spontaneous adventures. 

Sheena: I am generally not a huge fan of Regency novels because I find them fussy. A lot of time is spent on putting on gowns and prepping for balls which is of little interest to me. The Alpennia novels, are different. 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.

The Cons

April: I really hope this isn’t the last book in the Alpennia series because I’ve fallen so deeply in love with the city of Rotenek and the amazing women who live there!

Sheena: This is absolutely not a con for me but if you are expecting a romance in any of these books then don’t. They are all beautiful stories about strong, amazing women finding themselves. Romances may factor as a small subplot but if you go in expecting romance you will be disappointed.

aprils favourite bookssheena's favouriteThe Conclusion

April: Do you enjoy stories that feature strong-willed women, magic, prophecies and a strange illness that is on the brink of becoming an epidemic? Then look no further because this superb author has put all of these awesome elements and more into this compelling novel. This story can be read as a stand-alone but if you would like to get more background on Margerit Sovitre and Barbara, then you should start with the first book in this series. I’ve been late to work twice this week and I am counting on Heather Rose Jones to work her literary magic and create a couple of outstanding excuses for me to give to my boss!

Sheena: This is perhaps the quickest, easiest read of the series and a great way to hop into the series if you have not read the other books yet. If you have read the others then this is a perfect addition to the series.

I loved this book. The writing was beautiful, the characters pulled me in and kept me reading and the magic elements surprised me yet again. I absolutely recommend this book.

Excerpt from Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones

I tidied up my cap and made sure my dress wasn’t rumpled and followed her in. Mefro Dominique stood behind me and held me by the shoulders as if she thought I might run away. She said, “This is Rozild Pairmen. She’s a good girl and works hard.” And then to me, “Roz, this is Maisetra Sovitre, the royal thaumaturgist. She thinks she might have a place for you.” Then she pushed me forward a little bit and left the room.

What had she told them? I stood there twisting my hands together nervously, then remembered to bob a little curtsey as I looked up.

“I understand you’re looking for a position?”

The lady’s voice was soft and kind, but my mind started running over all the things a thaumaturgist might need a girl like me for. They did real magic with the mystery guilds, not just charms like the old women in the market did or like Celeste had used to fix my leg. Mostly thaumaturgists were men. Men didn’t do charmwork. At least, you didn’t want to go to the ones that did. I’d never met a thaumaturgist before. But you knew about them from stories—the sort you told at mid-winter.

I must have looked afraid because when I managed to say, “Yes, Maisetra,” she laughed a little. A pleasant laugh that made me feel a little easier.

Then she looked at the older woman and said, “Charsintek, I’ll leave it to you to figure out what work she’s fit for.” She followed Dominique back into the front room.

So the other woman was her housekeeper. I bobbed a second curtsey. “Mefro Charsintek?”

She looked stern and sour like housekeepers always did. I wondered if the work did that to them or if you had to be that way to get hired for the position.

“So. What can you do, girl?” she asked. No questions about why I was looking. That would come later, I thought.

“I was a laundry maid,” I recited. “And helped out downstairs. I can do mending and fancy sewing. I’d like to learn dressmaking,” I added. “That’s why I came to Mefro Dominique.”

She harrumphed and began quizzing me on the work, asking me how I’d deal with this stain or that kind of tear in a dress. I showed her the place on the sleeve of my chemise where I’d mended it so tiny you couldn’t even see it had been torn, except that the thread was a little darker.

I kept waiting for her to ask, Why were you let go? What did you do? Let me see your references. She never did, so I knew Mefro Dominique must have told them about all that. But then why would they consider me at all? A woman who dressed like Maisetra Sovitre could have her pick of maids. The housekeeper gave another harrumph and left me standing there while she went out into the front of the shop.

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Series

Alpennia Series

Daughter of Mystery

The Mystic Marriage

Mother of Souls

Floodtide

Bits and Bobs

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Note: I received a free review copy of Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site

 

Listen to a reading from the novel by the author at this podcast