Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Devyn Rose, The Innkeeper's Daughter: A Romance Novella is an epic fantasy novella written by Ronnda Eileen Henry. Andro’s Nook was not always the thriving village set on royal lands where Devyn Andro and his wife, Rosemary, ran the Queen Marigold Inn and anxiously awaited the return of their daughter, Devyn Rose, who had spent the last ten years as a student and teacher at the convent. Decades before that, eight servants from the Royal Palace in Tenby took advantage of an unexpected holiday to go camping on a wooded site above the water. They were four couples, and they all had gravitated to an easy companionship. When the elder of them discussed his plan for building a village where they might thrive, each of them gladly agreed, and with time, their little village of Andro’s Nook came to be, and their children and children’s children delighted in the life they had there.
Devyn Rose was one such grandchild. She was an accomplished scribe as well as a trained cook as a result of her years spent with the nuns, and she was now looking forward to trying her hand as a scribe or teacher in Tenwick. Her long-awaited homecoming brought with it a surprise. She was greeted in Tenwick by Kord, an odd-jobs man who would be driving her home to Andro’s Nook. He was a man of few words who found it hard to resist the young woman’s enthusiasm and fresh outlook on the world. And while their places in society were rather far removed, there seemed to be a comfort that each took in the other’s companionship.
Devyn Rose, The Innkeeper's Daughter is set in the author’s fabled island of Penruddick, and her heroine, Devyn Rose, is a strong and inspirational character who defies the prevailing culture where women are homemakers and housekeepers, and follows others in her family who become scribes. I admired her forthright and open conversation with Kord on the inequities of a system that would not allow her to run her father’s inn once she had inherited it, but would require that she hire a man to do so. Throughout her story, Henry’s unmarried female characters are subjected to speculation about their interest in having children and their remaining childbearing years, and when they are married women are given a veil to wear henceforward. We see in Henry’s young heroines a strength and stability, and the desire to be more than a fulfillment of a cultural expectation; a vanguard, as it were, of a new sensibility in Penruddick fostered by wise and understanding fathers and peopled by the daughters they raise. Devyn Rose, The Innkeeper's Daughter is highly recommended.