I've mentioned in a few other posts how my reading tastes lately have leaned to stories that take me to other worlds and center on honorable characters. And with that reading quest in mind, a co-worker (thank you Amy S!) suggested T. Kingfisher. And a better balm to the soul, it would be harder to find. In this, the first in the Saint of Steel trilogy, we meet a paladin whose god has died and a perfumer who has escaped an abusive past. The pair is brought together by Grace's job as a perfumer, but what keeps them in one another's orbit is a mix of power politics and a potential serial killer in their midst. As the two work together, they may find that best of all things, love.
I love Kingfisher's characters and the deceptively simple, in reality fully realized, world-building. And I loved that though Stephen and Grace are both a bit worn down by life and have each faced great pain, still they soldier on. I know it's not a novel idea - in fact it's something that is a reality for every human you know (real and imagined) - we all go through stuff and have to keep putting one foot in front of another. But what Stephen and Grace bring to the endeavor of being human in a world that has tried to beat them down is a continuing sense of hope and an ability to keep doing the right thing no matter how scary or difficult. I loved this one so much I dove right into book two of the series, Paladin's Strength, which is just as delightful.