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Do you know what your problem is?
Ryalgar knows hers. People have been telling this overeducated 13th-century woman for years. So when an equally intellectual prince decides he loves her, it looks like everyone was wrong and her dreams have come true.
Except, this prince is already betrothed to another. He’s leading the army training to defend their tiny realm against an expected Mongol invasion and he is considering sacrificing Ryalgar’s home nichna of Vinx by abandoning it’s rich farmlands to their foes.
Another woman would flee to safety. Maybe she would seek another lover. But not Ryalgar. Living in a world where witchcraft has been allowed to flourish and problematic powers remain, she devises her own strategy to keep the invaders from destroying her home.
This is just the sort of thing that happens when a woman thinks too much.
To my surprise, much of the talk centered around the Mongols and the coming winter. The Velka had few if any contacts outside of Ilari, but they had plenty of dealings with those inside the realm. Bringing information back into the forest seemed common, and even expected.
It appeared the decision had already been made to hide ourselves when this invasion occurred. The only debate was about how thoroughly to do it.
“If we’re lucky, they’ll never even try to enter the forest because they won’t know we exist,” one woman said.
“Good thing we won’t have to count on that,” another replied. “Word is they get their power from their horses. They’re weak without them.”
Another laughed. “Horses will not be charging through the perimeter we’ve got.”
“No perimeter will matter if they manage to set fire to the forest,” a woman even older than my grandmother said.
“We tell you every single meeting. We’ve got that handled. Our perimeter won’t burn.”
“Well we need to improve it,” she replied. “It not only needs to be inflammable, we can make it much more impermeable and we should.”
“Don’t forget there are those of us who’d like to be able to leave occasionally. And let others in,” a woman who had yet to speak up said.
“That may be a luxury we can’t afford until this threat passes.”
I was starting to pick up two different camps. It looked like one group wanted to close our forest completely and cut all ties with Ilari until the Mongols were long gone. I gathered those were the women who never left. Others not only wished to maintain contact, but also felt an obligation to help the rest of Ilari in what little ways they could.
“You’ve joined us at a difficult time,” one of the kinder women said to me. It was the first acknowledgment that night of my presence. “What do you think?”
They all turned to me and I understood the importance of my answer.
4 out of 5 (very good)
She's the One Who Thinks Too Much is the first book in the War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters series and we are introduced to a family of nine - two parents and seven sisters (obviously).
Ryalgar is the eldest of the seven and has helped her father on their farm until she becomes a Prince's 'girlfriend' and later mistress. The situation is so that he has to get married for political reasons and both him and his wife-to-be keep their current partners too. Of course, this will change but this is how it is for now. Add into that the threat of a Mongol invasion and you get an intricately woven story that gives great descriptions of both the time and (imaginary) place with the plans and defences they have to work with.
This fantasy is about the sisters and the situations they find themselves in. The romance takes a definite second place. The world-building is excellent, providing a clear insight into how the characters fit into the world. Each sister is brought into the story carefully and methodically whilst still leaving plenty to come in their own books.
The ending did feel quite abrupt even though I knew this would be an ongoing story. I look forward to it continuing in Coral's book and have no hesitation in recommending this for all who enjoy a historical fantasy.
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how odd she is.
All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.
Author Social Media Links:
Author Blog: https://sherriecronin.xyz/
Book Series Blog: https://troublesome7sisters.xyz/