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Tess of the Road
Cover of Tess of the Road
Tess of the Road
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Award-winning Rachel Hartman's newest YA is a tour de force and an exquisite fantasy for the #metoo movement."Tess of the Road is astonishing and perfect. It's the most compassionate book I've read...
Award-winning Rachel Hartman's newest YA is a tour de force and an exquisite fantasy for the #metoo movement."Tess of the Road is astonishing and perfect. It's the most compassionate book I've read...
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  • Award-winning Rachel Hartman's newest YA is a tour de force and an exquisite fantasy for the #metoo movement.
    "Tess of the Road is astonishing and perfect. It's the most compassionate book I've read since George Eliot's Middlemarch." —NPR

    In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons can be whomever they choose. Tess is none of these things. Tess is. . . different. She speaks out of turn, has wild ideas, and can't seem to keep out of trouble. Then Tess goes too far. What she's done is so disgraceful, she can't even allow herself to think of it. Unfortunately, the past cannot be ignored. So Tess's family decide the only path for her is a nunnery.
    But on the day she is to join the nuns, Tess chooses a different path for herself. She cuts her hair, pulls on her boots, and sets out on a journey. She's not running away, she's running towards something. What that something is, she doesn't know. Tess just knows that the open road is a map to somewhere else—a life where she might belong.
    Returning to the spellbinding world of the Southlands she created in the award-winning, New York Times bestselling novel Seraphina, Rachel Hartman explores self-reliance and redemption in this wholly original fantasy.
    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR * BOSTON GLOBE * The Chicago Public Library * KIRKUS REVIEWS
    Four starred reviews!
    "The world building is gorgeous, the creatures are vivid and Hartman is a masterful storyteller. Pick up this novel, and savor every page." —Paste Magazine

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    One

    The twins had taken their morning stitchery to the Tapestry Salon, one of the less fashionable sitting rooms in the palace. Jeanne liked the quiet, and Tess the tapestries, which depicted a seagoing adventure involving serpents and icebergs and flying fish. A younger Tess might have gone in search of the weavers to ask them what legend they (or their forebears) had been trying to depict; she might have scoured the library for references or asked Pathka the quigutl, who knew an awful lot about serpents of every sort.

    Tess the lady-­in-­waiting, however, sadder and sixteen, had no time for such involved and esoteric interests. Who would have dressed old Lady Farquist if Tess was selfishly haring off after her personal curiosity? More important: who would put Jeanne forward in the world and find her a husband?

    Jeanne, embroidering at the other end of the couch, was too sweet and mild to do it herself. If she were, left to her own devices, no one would have noticed her at all.

    "Lady Eglantine's soiree is tonight," Tess was saying as she basted a new sash onto Jeanne's blue satin gown. She'd add mother-­of-­pearl beads, too—­she'd gleaned some off Lady Mayberry in exchange for a particularly succulent bit of gossip—­and no one would recognize the dress when she was done. The Dombegh twins couldn't afford many new clothes, so Tess, the stronger seamstress, had learned to be resourceful.

    "Couldn't we stay in for once?" said Jeanne, leaning her blond head against the back of the velveteen couch and gazing out the window at the snowy courtyard. "I'm tired of all this."

    Jeanne was tired? Imagine the tiredness of the person who dressed her, altered her clothes, and carried her messages. The one who vetted eligible bachelors and navigated the treacherous web of palace politics with no thought for herself, doing everything for Jeanne's happiness and that their family might be saved. That person must be bloody exhausted.

    Tess basted fiercely, stabbing the needle in and out, and kept her mouth clamped shut.

    The twins had no option but to attend every soiree until Jeanne's future was settled. Tess frowned over her work, trying to find the words that would best persuade her sister. "I've heard a certain someone is going to be there," she said, tilting her head and batting her brown eyes.

    Jeanne knew whom Tess meant, and blushed, but still she opened her mouth to protest.

    And that was when the miracle happened: the door of the salon flew open and there stood a strapping young man of twenty-­two, Lord Richard Pfanzlig, the exact same "certain someone" Tess had alluded to.

    Tess hadn't planned this meeting; the spooky timeliness of his appearance raised the hairs on her arms. He looked windblown, flakes of snow glistening in his thick dark hair; his commanding nose shone red from the cold, and his cloak swirled dramatically around him.

    Tess's heart quickened, though he wasn't here for her. She didn't want him for herself or envy Jeanne (more than usual), but he cut a romantic figure, and Tess was not immune to romance, in spite of everything.

    He whipped off his cloak, tossed it toward a chair, and missed, but no matter. All eyes were upon his finely fitted maroon-­and-­gold doublet, his trunk hose, and his shiny, shiny boots. Or maybe his eyes, which smoldered at Jeanne from across the room.

    Jeanne couldn't bear it. She squeaked and grew intent upon the shepherdess in her embroidery hoop. Tess sighed inwardly, praying her shy sister...

About the Author-

  • As a child, RACHEL HARTMAN played cello, lip-synched Mozart operas with her sisters, and fostered the deep love of music that inspired much of Seraphina. Rachel earned a degree in comparative literature but eschewed graduate school in favor of bookselling and drawing comics. Born in Kentucky, she has lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, England, and Japan. She now lives with her family in Vancouver, Canada. To learn more, please visit SeraphinaBooks.com or RachelHartmanBooks.com.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Listeners might be forgiven for not immediately liking protagonist Tess, since, as it turns out, she doesn't like herself very much either. Katharine McEwan gives voice to 17-year-old Tess, who is stifled by society and by a strict upbringing, effectively communicating her anger and deep hurt. Tess inhabits the same world created by author Hartman in SERAPHINA--a world shared by humans, intelligent dragons, and quigutl, their lizard-like relatives. McEwan handles the many invented words and the lisping speech of Tess's quig friend, Pathka, with aplomb. McEwan is an empathetic guide as Tess begins an epic journey both literal and emotional, one that gradually exposes the roots of her anger and hurt. Tess's journey is deeply affecting, and listeners will be glad to have traveled the road with her. J.M.D. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine

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