Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman is a fantasy novel set in the same world as Hartman’s Seraphina novels.
In this medieval world, women are intended to be demure, pure creatures who depend on their men and are expected to be faithful wife and mother. For Tess, the idea of being a “lady” is stifling and all but impossible for a brash, impulsive troublemaker like herself.
After disappointing her family one time too many, Tess takes to the road. She cuts her hair, pulls on her boots and “walks on.” Creating various personas along her path, Tess sets out on a journey across the Southlands.
Where Tess is going, she doesn’t know but when she runs into a old friend–a quigutl, part-dragon, part-sewer creature–she finds herself on a quest, journeying into the unknown. But Tess with a third companion, her past, and this may just be the heaviest load to bare.
Will Tess continue to run away or will she end up running toward something even better?
I am not going to lie, I am listening away to this audio book thinking that this world sounds so familiar and poof! about two-thirds of the way through, I realize this is the same world as Seraphina. I don’t always look into the background of books before I start them, I just go “hey that’s interesting” and often find I’ve already read books by the same author. For this one it was a pleasant surprise, although I wished I’d noticed sooner, as I would have liked to spot where the stories tied together more.
This is a tale of self discovery. Of facing the things that hurt us and coming out stronger on the other side. I liked how the author did this. She sort of made you think of Tess as that trouble maker her mother verbally abuses but by the end you realize, as Tess does, that there is more to her story then we realize.
That being said, I listened to the audio of this book and the pace is slow. So I can only imagine actually reading the book would be even slower. The reader for this book had a very–for lack of a better word–demure voice. She didn’t get overly excited… the other emotions (besides despairing) weren’t there for me. I think a more lively reader might have picked up the pace for me.
I liked this one but I didn’t love it. I feel very middle of the road, so I am going to give it three stars.
That’s all for now!