J Victoria Michael
Harlequin’s Riddle - Book Review
Updated: Jun 8, 2020
by Rachel Nightingale
Book 1 of the Tales of Tarya
I love reading novels and I don’t mind if the narrative begins slowly. As the story-telling engages me, I will enter the offered world with all its hinted backstory. But the acid test of any book is this; does it keep me reading into the wee small hours? Harlequin’s Riddle did.
Mina is a plucky seventeen year old who joins a group of travelling players. Her new life draws her deep into the lives of mysterious artists and their magical theatre. All the while she watches for the smallest clues; she’s not there just for the excitement and the experience. She is desperate to find her older brother, Paolo. He left home to join a group of players and his family has not had news of him for many years.
As Mina’s journey lengthens, she immerses herself in the tapestry of a player’s life on the road, with all its joys, trickery, and danger. For the reader swept along with her, the story is not only an immersion into the strange and mystical world of Tarya, but a plunge into the horror of stolen Dreams and broken Threads. The bloodless cruelty of a person separated from their soul crept up on me in a slow burn.
The world of Tarya is illusory, dream-like, but Rachel Nightingale knows this place well, as she knows the country of Litonya with its idylls and tiny villages. Her writing has a rare truthful quality and I look forward to the rest of Mina’s odyssey.