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Literature / Swynmoor

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Swynmoor is a 2014 comedic fantasy romance novel by Joelle Mellon. Kerris Seaborn is an acolyte at an Abbey well known to the surrounding environs for their pickles. Unfortunately, Kerris starts the book in a bit of a pickle, said pickles having spoiled just before her superior is due to expect them. Kerris, having failed so many times before, decides to try a spell from a book written in Old Reachian, and other than the pickles being slight discolored, it seems to do the trick. She is shortly after charged to convey their tax of pickled vegetables to Swynmoor castle. Said castle is being looked over by Lord Swynmoor's newphew, Tomlin, whose aunt is trying to marry him off, having recently brought the very tall Topaz to win him over. Meanwhile, Tomlin receives the news that he's about to be besieged by Reynaud the Black and his army of ogres and formarians. Reynaud, for his part, is less than thrilled in his role in marching under the banner of the hedgehog, but feels honor-bound to continue.

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The pickles have unexpected side-effects. Reynaud and Tomlin find love in unlikely places. And all in all, an unusual time is had by all.


This book exhibits the following tropes:

  • Affably Evil: Reynaud is quite friendly in being the bad guy, but he is honor-bound to besiege the castle.
  • Anti-Smother Love Talk: When Tomlin learns that his uncle has died, making him the Lord of Swynmoor, he immediately cancels the wedding his aunt was planning for him, and that he will now live his own life.
  • Giant Woman: Topaz suffers a particular transformation after consuming the enchanted pickles. She proceeds to wreak havoc on Reynaud's army while transformed, earning their respect in the process.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Reynaud commands a mighty army... of idiots. And while he's competent, he's not exactly a mighty warrior, and has difficulty commanding respect from his soldiers.
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  • Jesus Taboo: Kerris comes from an Abbey with a Mother Superior. There are monks, and they speak of "God", but there's no mention of a Jesus figure, and the gesture of prayer involves forming a triangle with the forefingers and thumbs.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Topaz is notably taller than her prospective suitors, and has been since she was a young girl, and has difficulty finding anyone who will take interest in her as a result. Until she meets Reynaud.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Reynaud's army consists of Ogres and Formarians, both brutish and dumb.
  • Personality Powers: The effect of the enchanted pickles is to give powers associated with a person's inner nature.
    • Topaz, whose height has driven off suitors, grows to be a giant.
    • Tomlin, who seeks refuge from politics and relatives by maintaining the armory, gains the ability to move metal items such as weapons with his mind.
    • Kerris, who feels stifled in the monastery, gains the ability to control and amplify an impending storm.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the book, Kerris learns that he parents were wizards, and she likely is as well.

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