“House of Shadows” by, Rachel Neumeier
This story begins with a merchant and his eight daughters living a peaceful and happy life at home in a city called Lonne. When the girls loving father unexpectedly passes away they are forced to make some very difficult decisions in order to save their family’s home and business. The decision is made to sell one sister (Karah) to a keiso house or house of flowers. In a keiso house yound women are groomed to be cherished flower wives (Second or left hand wives) and are treated with the greatest care. A second sister (Nemienne) is sold to be an apprentice to a powerful mage named Ankennes who will teach her magic and other skills.
We are also introduced to Taudde who is a bardic mage from Kalches (Kalches is a neighboring land that has a temporary peace treaty with Lirionne) and to Leilis who is a servant in Cloisonne house (The keiso house that Karah is sold to).
“House of shadows” is a beautifully written fantasy story about love, trust, and the power of following your heart. The four main characters are all very different and complex.
*Taudde is clever and complicated. He loves his family and his home, and he is a magnificently powerful mage. What attracted me most to him was his purity of heart and his desire to learn and grow.
*Leilis is probably my favorite character. She is strong and determined, and even when life sucks she doesn’t cry about it. I love that she has this quiet way of making others listen to her and she stands her ground even when she is scared. Leilis is someone I would love to sit and have tea with. I think I would enjoy her quiet company and her quick mind.
*Nemienne is eager to learn and find her place in the world. Her eagerness to improve herself and be better everyday is very endearing. Nemienne embodies the hope that our hearts will always show us the right thing to do.
*Karah is not exactly a main character but she is a very sweet character. You can’t help but fall in love with her and her innocence. Karah is that part in all of us that still thinks that rainbows are magic.
“House of shadows” took me into a world that I want to explore further. I want to stand on the cliffs and listen to the music of the ocean. I want to watch Taudde play his magic pipe and then go have dinner at a keiso house. I want to walk the streets of Lonne and marvel at the magic that is woven in the very air. I really, really hope that the author writes more stories based in this world. I loved this story!