Reviews of A Slender Tether
"The writing is sure, the voice arresting and original. Places come alive; the seasons are painted skillfully, there for the reader to experience. " -- Tinney Heath on Barnes & Noble.com
Amid the turbulent weather of Europe’s Little Ice Age, A Slender Tether offers three compelling tales of self-discovery, woven into a rich tapestry of 14th century France. Christine de Pizan, daughter of a disgraced court physician and astrologer, grapples with her ambition to be the first woman writer in France. A doctor finds an unusual way to cope with the death of his wife. And opportunity alternates with disasters in the lives of four commoners, yoked by necessity: a paper-maker struggling to keep his business, a falconer with a mysterious past, a merchant’s daughter frantic to avoid an arranged marriage, and a down-on-his-luck musician with a broken guitar and the voice of an angel.
Published by FireShip Press, 2013
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"The Mandrake Broom belongs on everyone's reading list."
The Historical Novels Review, Issue 41, August 2007
Reviewed by Suzanne J. Sprague
"Historical events...are elegantly woven into the plot...Wells' detailed bibliography confirms her extensive research. The well-rounded characters, constant action, and captivating subject matter unite to enlighten as well as infuriate as the atrocities of the time period become real through Wells' vivid writing... Reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon series, Jess Wells' third novel belongs on everyone's reading list, especially of those who enjoy books about strong women willing to fight for their beliefs."
The Mandrake Broom, a historical novel based in Europe 1465-1540, dramatizes one woman’s courageous fight to save medical knowledge during the witch-burning times.
Early praise is calling it "stunningly good...tremendously involving and impressive," --Katherine Forrest, author.
Luccia Alimenti, daughter of a medical professor at the University of Salerno, Italy, destined to carry ancient texts and herbal lore into the dangerous and ground-breaking future.
Fiona, her Irish godmother who tries to protect her and forge a family while struggling with epilepsy and grief.
Marcelle a hunter and co-conspirator as they are pushed to the brink and take up arms for revenge.
Theo Paracelsus, father of modern chemistry, a brilliant eunuch and addict who works with Luccia to forge a bridge between the new and old medicines.
The Mandrake Broom involves the tension between visibility and invisibility, between internal strength and external powerlessness, and the continually fluid interplay of those factors, while it takes the reader through persecution and Plague, love and joy, and the struggle for unity.
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In The Price of Passion, Simone -- the orphaned, emotionally neglected daughter of a wealthy family -- must earn her inheritance by traveling the globe delivering a message to her dying grandmother's lovers. The young woman hopes that the pilgrimage will help her reconstruct her shadowed family history -- the shape of lives lived without her, but learns that there is a price to be paid for the emotions one is willing to feel, and the truths one is capable of acknowledging.
"Wells' language is a rich and varied drug...Unlike so many other highly charged novels, The Price of Passion is a fully integrated story with a compelling conflict and fully developed theme that deals with a subject that is consistent with such a passionate story line. Wells' talents as a storyteller shine in this remarkable voyage." -- Lambda Rising Book Report
This classic tale of control, fear and upheaval, features Trout, a successful businesswoman unaccustomed to losing control...Her partner-in-life Patricia, eyewitness to the collapse of abuilding she hleped construct...Cherice, a bisexual trapped in an elevator with a straight man... Louise, whose bar becomes a haven for so many whose lives have suddenly become upended.
"AfterShocks is an achievement. There are lines that are so filled with beauty and truth that they are sheer pleasure to read." -- The Washington Blade
"In this capitvating novel...details leap from the pages." -- Booklist