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Heather Terrell Books In Order

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Publication Order of Books of Eva Books

Publication Order of Fallen Angel Books

Publication Order of Mara Coyne Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Brigid of Kildare (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Heather Terrell is an American author of fantasy, young adult, and historical fiction known for her Books of Eva and Fallen Angel book series. She writes mystery and historical fiction under the pen name Marie Benedict. Heather served as a lawyer for more than 10 years, working as a litigator at two of the country’s major law firms.

Heather attended Upper St. Clair High School and Boston College, where she studied History and Art History. She later studied law at Boston University School of Law. Immediately after graduating from law school, Heather worked as a litigator for a decade and practiced in New York at Slate, Skadden, Arps, Morrison & Foerster, and Meagher & Flom.

Terrell made her literary debut with her first novel, The Chrysalis, in 2007. Following this milestone, she made a significant career shift, leaving her role as a litigator to dedicate herself to writing fully. Her mission as an author is to delve into history and unearth the stories of remarkable women who have often been overlooked. Terrell’s goal is to bring these women out from the shadows of the past and into the light of the present, where we can fully appreciate the depth of their contributions and the valuable perspectives they offer on contemporary issues.

As her career progressed, Terrell turned her focus to women who were frequently eclipsed by the men in their lives. This includes individuals such as Mileva Marić, featured in The Other Einstein (2016), Hedy Lamarr in The Only Woman in the Room (2019), Clementine Churchill in Lady Clementine in 2020, Belle da Costa Greene in The Personal Librarian (2021), and Rosalind Franklin in Her Hidden Genius (2022). Terrell’s works have gained international recognition, with her novels being translated into twenty-nine different languages.

Giraldus Cambrensis, a writer from the 12th century, once described a beautifully crafted manuscript that was often believed to be the Book of Kells. However, what if this manuscript wasn’t the Book of Kells but a second book lost to history? What if it contained a different narrative about women, one that challenged the official story endorsed by the Roman Christian Church?

In Brigid of Kildare, Alexandra Patterson embarks on a journey to Kildare, Ireland, with the task of appraising items from the Church of Saint Brigid.

During her examination of a reliquary box, she stumbles upon a leather-bound manuscript that might be the Book of Kildare, a potential precursor to the Book of Kells. As she works to authenticate its age, a separate narrative unfolds. The narrative delves into the life of Brigid through a saint’s story and the letters of Decius, a monk sent by Pope Simplicius of Rome to investigate the Abbey of Kildare.

Ireland becomes a pawn in the Church’s power plays, and Brigid seeks to protect her country. Baptized by Saint Patrick himself, she plays a pivotal role in Ireland’s conversion to Christianity. However, the relationship between Ireland and the Roman Church is delicate, especially during a time when the Church’s survival is intertwined with the fate of the Roman state. Decius’s letters reveal a man who is drawn to Brigid and her faith. Will he conspire against her or join her in her mission? Can Brigid of Kildare preserve the image of women from being erased by history?

Heather Terrell’s Brigid of Kildare weaves together alternating narratives from the past and the present. The novel presents Brigid of Kildare as a bold and unconventional leader who challenges the male-dominated hierarchy of the Roman Church. She questions a deity who disregards the intelligence and strength of women. Despite being deemed unorthodox by figures like Irenaeus centuries earlier, The Gospel of Mary the Mother offers Brigid an alternative interpretation of Christianity. This vision of Christianity acknowledges the active role of women rather than viewing them as passive or absent in Jesus’s life.

Brigid of Kildare will resonate most with readers who appreciate imaginative storytelling over strict historical accuracy. While it may lack the suspense and urgency of a thriller, the novel’s unique use of medieval literary forms, such as the narrative of a saint’s life, adds depth to the historical context. Although some contemporary readers may find these forms less engaging than modern fiction conventions, they contribute to the novel’s sense of mystery and historical authenticity, making it a compelling read for enthusiasts of medieval literature.

One interesting aspect of the book is its focus on the conflict between different interpretations of Christianity rather than the clash between paganism and Christianity. The struggle portrayed here is between the Roman Church’s expectations for Ireland and Brigid’s defiance of those rules. She incorporates elements of pagan rituals into her mission to ease her people into Christianity. Decius, originally sent to report on these “heathen” practices, finds himself undergoing a conversion of his own. Brigid emerges as a gentle figure striving to spread Christianity in a way she believes is right.

The Chrysalis is Heather Terrell’s debut novel. It opens up seventeenth-century Haarlem, when Holland, the city’s chief magistrate, commissions painting from the renowned Dutch artist Johannes Miereveld.
However, when Miereveld lays eyes on the magistrate’s daughter, Amalia, a forbidden love affair ignites. The result is a breathtaking masterpiece, The Chrysalis, a stunning portrayal of the Virgin Mary adorned with Catholic symbols. This painting outrages the Protestant patron, spelling the end of Miereveld’s career.

Fast forward to present-day New York, and Mara Coyne is on the point of making partner at a prestigious Manhattan law firm. She’s one high-profile case away from sealing the deal. Her golden opportunity arises when Beazley’s auction house prepares to sell The Chrysalis, a lost masterpiece set to become a legendary auction. However, a shocking claim arises, suggesting that the painting actually belongs to Hilda Baum, the daughter of a Dutch collector who lost his paintings, and his life, during the Nazi regime.

As Mara takes on the case, she discovers that Beazley’s in-house attorney is none other than Michael Roarke, a man with whom she once shared an intense attraction. Yet, Mara’s keen legal skills also make her suspicious. She begins to question whether Hilda’s tragic family history is not just heartbreaking but possibly true. Moreover, the man she’s grown to love may not be who she thought he was.

Spanning across centuries and continents, The Chrysalis is a riveting thriller that seamlessly weaves art and history into a thought-provoking work of fiction.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Heather Terrell

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