Sunday, January 27

Promised Land – Connie Willis + Cynthia Felice

Delanna Milleflores has only come back to Keramos to claim her inheritance – sent off to school at the age of five, she has no interest in the backward farmers of this uncivilised frontier planet. Her mother, recently deceased, had to stay on planet to maintain her claim on the Milleflores Lanzye but Delanna plans to sell it and get on with her life.
That is until she discovers that, thanks to an arrangement made by both sets of parents when an outbreak of monkey fever when she was a child threatened the Milleflores and Tanner Lanzyes, she’s betrothed to the dim-witted, ignorant and lazy Sonny Tanner. If she doesn’t return to the lanzye immediately she’ll lose it all, and the will can’t be appealed until the Circuit Court comes around, several months from now.
Promised Land is, at its heart, an FSF romance – unwilling marriage, a secondary love interest, forced cohabitation and isolation. What sets it apart is the thorough but subtle world building, characterisation, believability of the underlying premise, convincing obstacles to true love, and the thoroughly entertaining secondary storylines. These included a secondary romance, Delanna’s ongoing struggle to keep her semi-sentient pet out of the hands of a rule-bound vet, and discoveries about two native species.
Although the romance is resolved by the end of the novel, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that there are other books set on Keramos, because not further utilising that world would be a real waste. – Alex

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