Flashback Friday Feature: Emerald House Rising by Peg Kerr (Trad Fantasy)

by | February 28, 2014

On this flashback friday feature, we zip back to 1997, to take a look at Peg Kerr’s Emerald House Rising. Released as a mass market paperback, this novel targets a female audience, although it’s a suitable read for most ages and both genders.

Jena is the daughter and only child of Collas the Gemcutter, jeweler to the nobility and supplier of magical gems and amulets. Jena has learned everything her father can teach her, and has created some beautiful objects of her own–but as a girl, she is expected to marry, not carry on her father’s business. When Lord Morgan, a mysterious noble from the king’s court, realizes that Jena has magical abilities, her life changes forever. The two must work as partners if they are to avert a disastrous war among the ruling families.

The Lady Scribe says, “I corrected a certain spelling error in the blurb.”

Emerald House Rising is the first of two novels written by Peg Kerr, released by Aspect, a division of Warner Books. It is only available as an out-of-print paperback.

The Lady Scribe’s Notes: 

This is a lighthearted novel, mixing a little bit of action and adventure with a little bit of magic and intrigue to build an easy, simple read suitable for pre-teens, teens, and adults alike. This is the sort of book that is safe to leave on the floor in households with children, and might even entertain younger audiences as well. There is a little bit of romance thrown into the mix, making it an alluring title for those who want a little bit of romance without it becoming overbearing.

One of the things I really loved about this novel is the fact that it has both a strong female and male main characters,and these main characters are capable of having romantic interests in people other than each other. It works really well in this book, showing how there can be viable partnerships between members of the opposite gender without sex and romance being a key role in the sustainability of their relationship.

I selected this book due to its diverse character cast, it’s intriguing culture, and clever use of magic. You won’t find a lot of violence or sex in this book, which makes it a refreshing change from many modern offerings. I wouldn’t classify it as a YA or NA, although it has elements of both types of books. This novel is pure traditional fantasy.

I read this book the year it was released as a loan from the library. I checked it out on a semi-permanent basis, until the library thoroughly scolded me and asked for its return. When it did make its way back to the library, it did so well-worn and loved.

There is a little bit of a story about this novel. Long before the days of Amazon’s selection of third party book vendors, there were few ways to get rare and out-of-print books short of special orders.

I put in a special order for this novel with the local brick and mortar store and waited over a year in queue for a copy. One day, the bookstore called me with a lead on the book, and I got my hopes up, only to find out that the lead fell through. It turns out the final axe had been buried in this beautiful book, ensuring the only copy I’d find would be at a used book store.

At the time, the internet did not have any copies for sale that I could find.

Disheartened (correction: in tears) I commiserated with a friend of mine, expressing my frustrations over not being able to get a copy of this book, as it had made such an impact on me as a teen. I checked the used bookstores in my area with no luck, and gave up on the hunt.

Some time later, a rare ARC of the book was given to me as a gift.

To this day, it is one of my most-prized possessions.

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