Our Lady of the Islands
by Jay Lake and Shannon Page
This satisfying feminist tale set in an under-explored corner of Lake’s lush, mythical Green universe (Green, etc.) but entirely accessible to new readers features an empathetic middle-aged, middle-class protagonist managing the roles of businesswoman, mother and grandmother, fugitive, and unwilling savior with realism and grace. Clothing merchant Sian Kattë is assaulted by the charismatic rogue priest of the Butchered God, an encounter that grants her the unwanted power to heal by touch. Sian and her new abilities are misunderstood by her husband, lover, and daughter. She is hunted by the Mishrah-Khote physician-priests, who believe only men can be healers and accuse her of fraud, and manipulated by politically-minded relatives who insist that she stay away from both the public and her distant cousin’s dying son. Undaunted, Sian pursues her divine mission and encounters unexpected help from a woman in disguise; together they turn the second half of the book into a celebration of female friendship and cooperation. Page (Eastlick and other Stories) has done a phenomenal job of completing Lake’s work after his death, honoring his contributions and vision while giving the novel an emotionally authentic, coherent voice.
Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Maass Agency. (Dec.)