HEATHER ROSE JONES
REPRESENTATION: lesbian (?) MC, mutliple mentioned f/f relationships, secondary trans-m/f relationship
SERIES: Alpennia #4
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Historical Fantasy, Romance
The streets are a perilous place for a young laundry maid dismissed without a character for indecent acts. Roz knew the end of the path for a country girl alone in the city of Rotenek. A desperate escape in the night brings her to the doorstep of Dominique the dressmaker and the hope of a second chance beyond what she could have imagined. Roz’s apprenticeship with the needle, under the patronage of the Royal Thaumaturgist, wasn’t supposed to include learning magic, but Celeste, the dressmaker’s daughter, draws Roz into the mysterious world of the charm-wives. When floodwaters and fever sweep through the lower city, Celeste’s magical charms could bring hope and healing to the forgotten poor of Rotenek, but only if Roz can claim the help of some unlikely allies.
Set in the magical early 19th century world of Alpennia, Floodtide tells an independent tale that interweaves with the adventures.
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Floodtide is the fourth book set in the Alpennia universe, but unlike the previous books, this one is entirely stand-alone. Myself, I haven’t read the first three books, but when I saw that this one could be read alone I thought it was the perfect place to dive in.
I will say, that the beginning of the book took a little bit of work on my part to fully understand. It’s not that you need to have read the previous books, it’s more that Jones has an incredibly complex world — there are lots of invented titles and a very unique magic system — she doesn’t baby you through this. The story expects you to keep up. This made the world truly immersive and fascinating to discover, but I had to take my time getting to know both the characters and the world
Once I got a grip of what was happening, I was hooked.
I was fascinated by the characters, especially (what I would call the main characters) Liv, Celeste and Roz. There’s a very large cast of secondary characters (some of whom I believe are protagonists in previous books) but everyone felt fully fleshed out and fully realised. Something I really liked was that this book had a very large female and/or queer cast. I always think it’s great when not only do books have a lot of female characters but also show come in the different ways in which women can be unique and strong in different ways.
I really enjoyed the below-stairs world that we got to see when Roz was at her work as a lady’s maid. You got to see all the political dynamics within a noble house and I always find that very interesting. I also really loved the scenes where she was working on her dressmaker’s apprenticeship, there are so many nice little details and character moments.
As much as I went into this thinking it would be a historical fantasy, the magical side of it is relatively underplayed. I get the feeling that the previous novels have more direct fantasy content but this little but more subtle to me, like almost magical realism. It’s all to do with little charms to clean linens or healing charms etc. There are much bigger, more obvious magic mentioned but this book doesn’t dive into those as much.
I really enjoyed the slow unravelling of the plot, and the calm, steady pacing. It built-up tension in both the ‘main’ plot and all the relationships, leaving you on the edge of your seat. I loved the way everything tied together at the end and all the little domestic details of the book. Floodtide is a wonderful novel and one which has really interested me in discovering more of the Alpennia world.