Mother Of Souls by Heather Rose Jones is the story of, Serafina, a woman who comes to Alpennia to hone her Mystical skills and answer some personal questions. She can see Mysteries (magic) brighter and more vividly than anyone else and yet she cannot perform any. When someone else creates a Mystery then she sees vibrant waves of colour but her own performance doesn’t stir a thing.
When a letter from Margerit crosses her path she sees the opportunity to escape her dull life as the wife to a husband who isn’t really interested in her and to find some answers. She travels from Rome to Alpennia and seeks out the famed Royal Thaumaturgist with the hope that if anyone can help her, Margerit can.
However, even in the circles of people who are sensitive to the Mysteries, she is still an outcast and becomes increasingly frustrated.
There is hope, though, because when Serafina’s land lady, Luzie begins to play music there is movement similar to that created by the Mysteries which stirs all sorts of questions because never before could music evoke the Saints.
In an intertwined series of stories: Barbara is trying to get her new property up and running; Margaret is opening a school; Antuniet wants a child; and for some reason the Rotein river is dwindling which is causing all sorts of problems.
Mother of Souls is a fantastic third novel in The Alpennia Series. If you haven’t read the first two yet then start with Daughter Of Mystery and The Mystic Marriage then return to this one because it is so worth it.
Serafina is an unusual leading lady. She is filled with uncertainty and frustration with herself for most of the book which makes her more difficult to connect with than the other characters in the Alpennia series. Having said that, this did give her a large character growth because by the end of the book she seems to have come to uneasy terms with her abilities.
We also meet Luzie, a music teacher who rents out rooms in order to make some income after her husband’s death. She is unexpectedly drawn to Serafina and a very minor romance ensues. It is sweet and not at all graphic but it does shape some of the character moments in this book.
The side characters in this book are main characters from the previous two books – Barbara and Margerit; Antuniet and Jean – which is great fun if you already love them from the previous stories. (And let’s face it, what’s not to love?)
What Jones did so brilliantly, though, with these returning characters is age them a little and give them personality tweaks which are likely to occur as one goes forward in time. They are still the beloved characters, just a little wiser and more polished by life now. With minor storylines of their own, they remained a captivating bunch to read about.
Her characters are perfectly flawed, uniquely individual and beautifully crafted.
The Writing Style
Heather Rose Jones writes beautifully. Her use of language is sometimes so perfect that I just stop reading for a moment to absorb pieces like this: “A river shaped the lives of the people around it in unexpected ways. The Tiber had been vaster and less intimate, more a presence than a person. Here, people spoke of the Rotein as they might of a beloved aunt, a wayward cousin, an estranged lover.”
It may be possible that this book is even more beautifully written than the first two. I cannot help but get absorbed in the words and the storyline that begs to be finished.
The returning characters were just perfect and the riddle around the river was entirely intriguing.
I find the names of the smaller characters difficult to remember sometimes. There is a vast array of characters in the books.
Having said that, I don’t ever feel confused while reading the story because Jones manages to put the characters into context that makes it easy to pick up who they are – even when you have a Swiss cheese brain like mine.
Serafina was a difficult leading lady to cheer for because of her self doubt. I didn’t hate her, just found her to be a little beyond my grasp.
Take some strong women and put them in a time and place that frowns upon women who break the mould of housewife, add a dash of mystery (and Mystery) and a sprinkle of music. Thread together several compelling storylines and you have Mother Of Souls.
Go read it. It is so worth it.
Excerpt from Mother Of Souls by Heather Rose Jones
The stones of the chapel held the chill close, even late into the afternoon. Serafina pleaded through her shivers, “We could try again tomorrow. Surely there’s time.”
Summer had passed here at Saveze, there was no denying it. Summer had passed and she was no closer to touching the divine, to reaching the ears of the saints and having them hearken. She had spoken the right words, inscribed the right names, touched the relics and lit the candles, and except for the burning of the wick, the chapel had remained dark. Except for the rustling echo of her movements, it had remained silent. When Margerit Sovitre had spoken the same words, the space flare with the bright swirling fluctus and echoed with whispering power in answer to her prayer. And for her…nothing.
Margerit reached out a hand to take hers and steady her as she rose from the embroidered kneeling cushion before the altar. “We’re leaving tomorrow. Time enough to try something different when we return to the city.”
Serafina stared at where their hands were clasped, Margarit’s pale fingers against her dark ones, like an echo of the presence and absence of the mystic light. She shook her head and drew back her hand. Rotenek would drive them apart.
She’d come to Alpennia nearly a year past in search of a teacher and had been plunged unexpectedly into a labyrinth of politics. She’d told herself it was no wonder that her studied made little progress over the winter. This summer should have been different. Here at Saveze, immersed in Margarit’s little community of scholars…if she could come no closer to learning how to turn her visions into truth here, what hope would there be back in the city?
“Let me try one more time,” she begged.
“Serafina, this is useless. We need to find a different approach.”
Useless. The word cut through her memories.
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The Alpennia Series
Mother Of Souls
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781594935176
- Publisher: Bella Books
Heather Rose Jones Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Mother Of Souls by Heather Rose Jones. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.
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