Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones is a fantasy in the style of a historical romance. Set in a world that is not our own but resembles Europe in medieval times, the book tells the story of Margerit, a young heiress who inherits her godfather’s wealth, mansions — and his armin (a duelist and bodyguard), Barbara.
From the first moment Margerit and Barbara meet, you know they belong together. Their chemistry is sweet and wonderful and unfolds for the reader in an agonizingly teasing way. Their relationship is a slow burn: in this 800+ page book, it is not until a little over a third of the way through that they begin to realize they might have romantic feelings for each other. The tension of a forbidden romance between mistress and servant is only somewhat relieved by their lovely friendship and the adventures they embark on together, helping each other solve their respective mysteries.
Margerit has a magical ability to see miracles at work. The study of miracles is considered heretical by the church, for miracles and saints are meant to remain as mysteries. Barbara supports Margerit’s desire to study the physics behind the spiritual, and acquires forbidden books for her even as she is dealing with her own, more down-to-earth mystery: who her father was and what her name is. On top of these personal concerns, the two women must deal with politics and power struggles among the nobility,in the church and the university, and among Margerit’s family and acquaintances.
Heather Rose Jones writes masterfully. Her style is at the same time beautiful and easy to read, delightful and commanding of attention. The characters are ones which the reader can truly fall in love with and become emotionally invested in their well-being and endeavors. The setting is convincing and natural, a fully-realized world that seems almost familiar, like a fairy tale setting that has been visited before, or a world that was grown rather than invented. The book is long but worth the time it takes to enjoy it.