cover image The Noble and the Nightingale

The Noble and the Nightingale

Barbara Ann Wright. Bold Strokes, $19.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-1-63555-812-8

Wright (Lady of Stone) sets up the Sisters of Sarras lesbian fantasy romance trilogy with solid worldbuilding, a delightfully awkward couple who bridge social realms, and an entertaining adventure that leaves plenty of room to grow. Adella del Amanecer spends her energy working as the secondary ambassador from Sarras to the Firellian Empire and maintaining her noble family’s financially strapped household with her two sisters—but she still finds time to flirt with mandolin-playing bard Bridget Leir, unaware that Bridget used to be a Firellian spy. Bridget intends to come clean to Adella, but before she can, a murder in the diplomats’ office makes Adella both investigator and potential target, with law-keeping Sentinels and spy hunters on the case. Now Bridget must balance using her skills and connections to help the woman she loves with keeping her own secret. Centering personal attachment rather than eroticism, this is perfect for those who prefer their romances emotional but not explicit. By the end, Wright has established strong personalities for Adella’s two sisters and taken the suspense plotline to the brink of war between Sarras and the Firellians, setting up strongly for the next volumes. Readers will be pleased. (Mar.)