An accomplished student and heiress to a great title, Genevieve has been brought up as a Proper Young Lady, carefully instructed in the Covenants -- the inflexible laws governing women of her class. But she must soon take up the time-honoured responsibilities of womanhood: that is to marry a nobleman of her father's choosing and bear a child at ...
An accomplished student and heiress to a great title, Genevieve has been brought up as a Proper Young Lady, carefully instructed in the Covenants -- the inflexible laws governing women of her class. But she must soon take up the time-honoured responsibilities of womanhood: that is to marry a nobleman of her father's choosing and bear a child at the age of thirty. But Genevieve has another side to her: the girl who remembers all the stories and the secret knowledge learned from her mother, now long dead, the girl who yearns to heed the call of the sea -- though she has never even seen the vast waters that cover most of the surface of her home planet of Haven. And as her fate, to marry the loathsome Prince Delganor, fast approaches, she begins to question the ties that bind her: why noblewomen must wait until thirty to have children, why so many die in childbirth, while peasants thrive into their eighties, and, most of all, why she must wed a man she detests, rather than the commoner she adores. Genevieve must uncover bitter truths about the seemingly backward planet of Haven, and fight for the rights of womankind, if she is to save her home world from total oblivion.
Publishers Weekly, 1999-03-29 On a planet covered almost entirely by oceans, two small countries lie side by side. The societies of both are carefully constructed around a single, deadly secret that only old men share. Those who don't know the secret can't imagine how deeply it affects their entire world, and those who do will sacrifice anything, and anyone, to keep things exactly as they are. Noble women, like Genevieve, do not live long. Most die in childbirth or soon thereafter of the mysterious batfly fever, for which there is an equally sinister medicine, P'naki. Genevieve's life, like all lives on Haven, is carefully scripted by the ancient Covenants, but her fate was arranged long before her people even landed on the planet, for she has been chosen to restore the natural balance of life and death. Don't mess with the "world spirit" or the great "Whatever," warn the followers of the planet's two mystical religions, but some men haven't listened, and now divine retribution is coming: Genevieve is to be the harbinger of the planet's transformation. This is a mystical, well-imagined feminist tale with enough hidden powers and intrigue to make it feel like a mystery. The societies that Tepper (Six Moon Dance) creates are frighteningly believable; her characters are multi-textured and full of life. Narrative flow slows because of repetitious dialogue in the novel's middle, but otherwise the storytelling is fluid and captivating. (Apr.)
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