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Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold

Description: Fantasy 1400s Spain. We return to the world of Chalion in the sequel to Curse of Chalion where Royina (Queen) Ista finds herself once more pulled into the chances of the gods.

As always when I’ve devoured, I am overwhelmed with sorrow when it is done. Makes me wonder why I read sometimes, when the completion of that first innocent read grieves so.

What done already. But I’m not ready to leave yet.

I contemplate the fall. And more importantly, Lois McMaster Bujold’s new book, The Paladin of Souls. A middle aged heroine, her children one married, one dead, husband died, lastly parent died. What now? What purpose? Not old. Not young. What then?  

Lois inserts our heroine into the Canterbury Tales for bit. Sends her on pilgrimage. Not the prioress or the wife of bath. Not the knight or his nightingale son. But someone in the middle. A former saint. The mule of those quintarian gods.

 Ah, yes. Too many quotations to really type.

 "Your father calls you to His Court. You need not pack; you go garbed in glory as you stand. He waits eagerly by His palace doors to welcome you and has prepared a place at His high table by His side..."

Surely my cup runneth over, in a story of fathers and lost sons.


"How fortunate for us that we thirst for glorious souls rather than faultless ones, or We should be parched indeed, and most lonely in Our perfect righteousness. Carry on imperfectly, shining Ista."

or that whole section about where the the main character, Ista, who spent much of the previous novel under a curse, cloud, mother love frenzied to grief is asked to do a thing by the gods. Curses them because when she prayed and prayed and prayed, her prayers were not answered. And since she has free will, and given the theological nature of this universe, the gods cannot bend a leaf nor make her walk that road, if she does not wish.

To which the reply is that many were set of the road in answer to her prayers, but in the end only one man was willing to arrive, because the gods cannot bend a leaf or make anyone take the path. Free will. Sometimes it sucks. And here now someone else prays, and Ista is set on the path. Whether she will choose to arrive in answer to that prayer is up to her.

It’s all very, “tests are gift” only large in explication.

 A philosophy of prayer as walking, one foot before the other, set to an adventure. Demons. Sorceresses. Gods. Choices. To walk or stay home. For everything a season, even those things that live out of season. 

The sort of book meant for a long lovely fall evening. Dark outside. Warm in. And hours of time to think and absorb.


And since I was put on my metal to come up with some tortured heroines in romance novels…

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
1850’s California. She’s a prostitute, with issues rather than a heart of gold. He’s religious, a virgin, and a farmer. A beautiful retelling of the story of Hosea.

Texas Star by Deana James
Old west Texas (surprising, eh?). She’s a rancher, whose abusive husband is alive, but in a wheelchair. There’s a reason her nickname is the Diamondback. She’s in her late thirties and has a teenaged daughter. Enter mysterious stranger. Equal issues for everyone.

Once an Angel by Teresa Medieros
Late 1800s New Zealand. The little princess was left to stew for about 10 years at that hellish academy for girls and she isn’t quite such a little princess anymore.

The Crystal Heart by Lisa Gregory
Despite one cringe worthy, yes, this book was written in the late 70s scene, interesting book. 1776, London to Boston. She’s a fashionable society jade. Painted face, hair up to there, gowns out to here. He’s a frumpy lawyer from those pesky colonies out to argue for taxation with representation.

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