April 20th, 2020

children of dune - leto 1

books: a mortal bane by roberta gellis

So I mentioned it on Twitter but I forgot if I ever recced this series here, so I'm going to go for it.

A Mortal Bane (Magdalene la Bâtarde Book 1) by Roberta Gellis.

I've recced her before for her Roselynde Chronicles novels, which are all Women Who Inherit Huge Estates And Rule Them (And The Men That Love and Really Desperately Want to Marry Them). Some of the attitudes are slightly dated--though not very much--and some of the historical detail may be a little off, but the author was a historian and knew her shit so it's very much a matter of New Research Giving Different Interpretations, not Bad Author.

(Most of Gellis' books are Women Doing Shit (And the Men Who Want to Marry Them); there's also a really good one on a female merchant that gives a really good view of London merchant society during the reign of King John, but I digress.)

The Magdalene books follow, but our heroine runs an extremely expensive, extremely exclusive, extremely tiny brothel during the reign of King Stephen. She has a Mysterious But Noble and Tragic Past, and to escape that, became a prostitute, and things happened and she got patronage of a Great Man and now has the Old Priory for her brothel which used to be a guesthouse for the Church and so she pays rent to the Bishop of Winchester. She only keeps three women there, all of whom enjoy sex and she treats very well, and all were chosen for their specific--characteristics, and no I don't mean beauty or sexual hijinks--and the reason she can do it like this is that her house is designed for wealthy people--merchants or lords--who want discretion, intelligent companionship, women who genuinely enjoy their work, and to maybe plot treason or war on occasion. As one does.

Throughout these books, these things will never change, so know that going in; they will develop, however. Also, these books are Romance but also actually Mysteries. Which our prostitutes will be solving.


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