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The Mystic Marriage (Alpennia, #2)
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The Mystic Marriage

(Alpennia #2)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  235 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Antuniet Chazillen lost everything the night her brother was executed. In exile, she swore that treason would not be the final chapter of the Chazillen legacy in Alpennia’s history. A long-hidden book of alchemical secrets provides the first hope of success, but her return to the capital is haunted by an enemy who wants those secrets for himself.

Jeanne, Vicomtesse de Cherd
Paperback, 324 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Bella Books (first published April 14th 2014)
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The second book in the Alpennia series focuses on the recently fallen Antuniet. After losing her brother to execution, her mother to suicide and her childhood home to confiscation, Antuniet Chazillen has left Alpennia in disgrace. While in exile, she vows to return again in triumph. But being a scientist at heart, her 'vengeance' is to gift Alpennia with a spectacular scientific discovery--which she intends to use to clear her family name and restore their honor.

Her path to success is no easy ta
Woah! What a ride this was! I’m giddy and almost breathless with excitement after finishing The Mystic Marriage. It was even better than Daughter of Mystery (is that even possible?!) but that could be because I am more familiar with the players now. I know the difference between a Mesnera and a Maisetra, what the tasks of an armin entail, who the players at court are, who most of the characters are without reading the same paragraph twice. This series is not a light read, but if you stick with i ...more
Nick Imrie
Another delightful Alpennia novel. Like Daughter of Mystery, The Mystic Marriage is a wonderfully wholesome, heart-warming love story. Jones has a great talent for writing enchanting characters; the sort that feel like old friends by the end. These books are really the antithesis of 'grimdark' fantasy. They have a fundamental certainty that good intentions, hard work, forgiveness, compassion and a sense of humour really are enough to bridge the divide between hearts. And yet, they're not sappy b ...more
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I liked this better than book #1, it moves at a faster pace and the characters are more well developed. I love how Antuniet grows in character throughout the book - I started the book not liking her very much, and ended it by rooting for her. We get four POVs in this book - Margerit, Barbara, Jeanne and Antuniet, and each character is given time and space to develop. The storyline has more intrigue and mystery than book #1, and the romance, though not explicit, plays a more central role, without ...more
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great follow-up. In addition to Margerit and Barbara's voice (from Daughter of Mystery), now we also have Jeanne and Antuniet's.
I think the author could've created a better plot for Jeanne, rather than relegating her to be a mere "supporting character" for Antuniet. As for the latter, despite recognizing some of her flaws, I confess I liked how she was developed. It's always interesting to think about at which point honor ceases to be something positive to be instead an obstacle for moving forwa
K.J. Charles
Second installment in an incredibly well developed and realised series about political intrigue in an alt-c19 European principality (too realistic to call a Ruritania) where alchemy and religious mysteries work. It's all f/f, with a huge cast and interlinked stories, so you would be best off starting with Daughter of Mystery to get clued in, which is no hardship as I love that too.

This is a different beast though. Jeanne and Antuniet are both very flawed characters--based on their appearances i
Bogi Takács
From my 2015 Hugo award recommendations:

Historical fantasy set in Alpennia, an imaginary Western-Central European country. (Think Austria and Switzerland.) There is a lot of intrigue among ultra-rich nobles living a life of leisure, but a lot of the plot involves alchemy, where they actually work and make something with their own hands - yes, both the characters and the author reflects on this. One of the reasons I like this series is the believable, not 'flashy' but still effective magic.

Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved the first book (Daughter of Mystery - do read if you haven't), which was a delightful and leisurely regency romance between Barbara and Margerit, and made me really glad I stumbled across it.

This follow-up is equally enjoyable, with the romance between their friends Jeanne and Antuniet (opposites attract) this time. But what made me really happy was that the author featured Barbara and Margerit heavily here too because I adore their easy chemistry. Note there is nothing explicit but it
Cat M
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I continue to adore this series. This second instalment continues to follow Barbara and Margerit's lives, while expanding the focus to two characters who played a supporting role in the first book.

Antuniet and Jeanne are fascinating characters to hang a romance on. In Daughter of Mystery they are the two characters it's hardest to get a handle on.

Antuniet is proud and cold and always keeps herself at a chilly distance from those around her. Jeanne is a social butterfly with a reputation for fli
Sara Uckelman
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is a rare pleasure to read the published version of a book that you were a beta reader (and SME) for; in a sense, it was that I already knew the story, but I didn't know the book. At first, as I read it, I kept noticing bits here and there which were different (particularly in places where I'd raised a question or a wrinkled eyebrow in the beta version), but that soon fell away as I got swept more into the story.

I love the basic premise behind the Alpennia books so so much that there's basica
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Book 2 in a highly enjoyable series. I really like the way that Jones creates her communities of (mostly queer) women scholars, musicians and alchemists and am very pleased that she found a way to include a Jewish community as well as a new character who is a POC. The picture we often get of historic Renaissance Europe in textbooks and so forth tends to be pretty whitewashed, failing to reflect the actual cultural diversity that existed. I also enjoyed the characters (Barbara remains my favorite ...more
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I tried but after a week it’s DNF at 79%. I like all of the characters but I can’t care about any of them because it feels like we are ambling along with no specific point or gut wrenching challenge in any of their lives. Two are from the past book, which is fine and pleasant but they get way too much page time for not being the centers of the book.

One is a workaholic who has a massive presentation the entire book’s been leading up to but then it occurs offstage, which is deflating. The other i
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ok, so the thing about this series is the synopses are awful. Despite loving Daughter of Mystery (which I didn't read for several years during to the horrible description), I didn't pick up this, the sequel, for years because I didn't realize it was a true sequel. But basically if you're interested in a historical Ruritanian fantasy about female lesbian scholars, this is the series for you. Did you read The Goblin Emperor and want more about the lady scholars? You got it in this series. These ar ...more
Shira Glassman
19th century lesbian scientists creating magic rocks! So, The Mystic Marriage is the story of a proud, emotionally closed-off, initially friendless and basically penniless young woman, Antuniet, struggling to redeem her family's honor after her brother /insert spoilers for Daughter of Mystery/. There are three subplots in the book: Antuniet's alchemy, i.e. trying to create the magic rocks and impart special properties to them; a complicated political cold war of intrigue between two middle-aged ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This second installment of Heather Rose Jones' brilliant Alpennia series was another wonderfully crafted story for me! I was very excited to read this installment particularly because it was going to be about Antuniet! I was captivated by her mysterious persona since her introduction in Book 1 "Daughter Of Mystery." I was so happy that HRJ told her story in this one.

Whereas Book 1 had more action (because of Barbara's profession and her quest to find out about her past and settle her family's de
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm writing this review literally seconds after finishing this book because it is SO GOOD. This review might be a bit messy but it's from the heart,

I love this series. It's so unique. I love the discussion of the science, the mysteries, the feeling of working through something. Love it. I love the characters. I love how none of them are perfect, but each is so very human, and often, so very likeable. And I love the romances. They fill me with such joy.

The Mystic Marriage had my unbound attention
Darlene Vendegna
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved!! One of those books that I simultaneously wanted to devour in one sitting but also prolong as long as possible. Part historical fiction, with a small touch of magic, with dense deeply detailed and descriptive prose. There were a few lines that made me kind of wish I had a highlighter so I could read them again later, but that would go soundly against my no defacing my books stance. The primary romantic relationships are between women, one established and one deliciously budding, but to me ...more
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Review forthcoming!
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This series is like if A Song of Ice and Fire were good. And gay. Actually gay. Please write as many words as frickin' GRR Martin, Ms. Jones.
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Regency Magic (March & April 2016)

Antuniet Chazillen has been living in self-imposed exile from Alpennia. She longs to go back to Rotenek but that isn't an option. Even if she were to return no one would take her in. Ever since her brother was executed for treason and her mother committed suicide anyone bearing the name Chazillen has been ostracized. The driving force in her life now is to show the world that not everyo
Summary: This is a sequel to Daughter of Mystery (link to review in comments). Like its predecessor, it is a lesbian historical romance with fantasy elements. The principals are two minor characters from Daughter of Mystery. Antuniet is the last living member of a disgraced noble family, who has directed her considerable intellectual talents to the study and practise of alchemy, with the goal of redeeming her family’s name. Jeanne, Vicomtesse de Cherdillac, is a fashionable widow with a liking f ...more
Jess Hale
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
A less engaging read than book one. I kept going because I did want to find out what happened, but it left me wanting.

I think the major problem in this book is a lack of focus. I enjoyed seeing Margerit and Barbara again, and if the story had focussed on them and resolving the political intrigue, that might have worked.

I was also charmed by Jeanne - the social butterfly who is, perhaps, starting to age a tad (I think she's just over forty), and Antuniet, the proud young alchemist who opens herse
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This book was hard to review. In some respects I wanted to give it 4 stars, in others only 3. I've settled on 4 stars as it very different to the usual run of things.

I picked this up as part of a StoryBundle collection, not realising it was book #2 in a series. It is told from the POV of 4 different characters, each in different chapters. At least 3 of them were main characters in book #1. However, there is enough back story in this book that it all still made sense. I quite enjoyed getting to k
A.R. Jarvis
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, femslash
It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't all that great, either. I didn't read book #1, and this can be read alone, but then again, there were some things that really needed a bit more explaining for this to truly be an independent read, so there was that. And then it was really slow; the kindle app told me it would take about 10 hours to read, and I felt every. single. one. of them. Never so painfully that I wanted to give up, but enough so that I would abruptly stop reading mid-paragraph and wander ...more
Sara Norja
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a lovely return to Alpennia. Definitely comfort read material! I liked the addition of other viewpoint characters - it kept the perspectives fresh. I didn't really like Antuniet at first, but she really grew on me; also, as I study early alchemical texts for my academic work, it was interesting to see how Jones dealt with alchemy here. A very different sort of alchemy from the stuff I'm more familiar with, but that was all to the good. Mystical stones yessss.

The relationships could do with
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book, although not quite as much as I loved Daughter of Mystery. It got off to a slow start, with nothing but set-up happening in any of the plots (romance, political intrigue, or character relationships) during the first hundred pages. But then things picked up quite nicely! I loved all of the characters--I was excited that Barbara and Margerit still got POV chapters, since I was initially expecting them to just make small cameo appearances, and Jeanne and Antuniet were ...more
Another really lovely book. I adore the focus in this series on chosen and created family. The romance was again slow-paced and sweet, with great attention given to developing the characters and relationship. I think the author does a really good job of writing characters with distinct personalities, world-views, and values in a way that makes me emotionally invested in all of them (although I admit I was a less than thrilled with the way that Jeanne's previous flirtations were addressed). I rea ...more
The backstory involving the succession and intrigue surrounding it is actually quite interesting. But I cared about the couple as little as I did about the one in the first book. I just couldn't buy that they really cared about each other and they never seemed to talk about their problems. Instead the usually pretended nothing happened (which was probably why their problems kept repeating themselves)
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I found the beginning, with it's obsession over redememption, and the tireless pursuit of a shadowy enemy, a little repetitive and slow. But once the characters started developing, and their relationship began, it got more interesting. Love seemed to follow alchemical breakthroughs, so both plots furthered side by side. Deeply flawed, but also well suited, the relationship showed a couple who were far from perfect, but we're very good for each other.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist, fantasy
Antuniet was an interesting character and I enjoyed the story as I continue to enjoy the world. These books are slightly more complex than my usual light-reading-balm-for-the-soul books, which makes them an even greater pleasure. I like the ways that magic and religion are intertwined in this world.
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Heather Rose Jones writes fantasy, historic fantasy, and historical fiction, including the Alpennia series with swordswomen and magic in an alternate Regency setting. She blogs about research into lesbian-like motifs in history and literature at the Lesbian Historic Motif Project which provides inspiration for her fiction. She has a PhD in linguistics, studying metaphor theory and the semantics of ...more

Other books in the series

Alpennia (3 books)
  • Daughter of Mystery (Alpennia, #1)
  • Mother of Souls (Alpennia, #3)