What a wonderful book. I enjoyed it so much, that as soon as I finished reading it, I immediately started to read it again. Sarah has built a new and interesting world where young girls can find themselves called to serve as Sisters of Salbine. When they enter the order, they learn how to draw on and use the elements. The book follows Maddy, who has left her family and all she knew to become a Sister of Salbine, who is sure in the knowledge that she's where she's meant to be. Her relationship with the outwardly irascible, yet inwardly shy Lillian, an older Mistress of the order, is bringing her joy. Especially when, after a few stumbles, they work out that they both want more from the other than just a bed partner. All this changes however, when she suffers a crisis of faith after she discovers she can't draw on the elements, which sets her apart from all other Sisters. This prompts her to travel to another monastery to research her condition and hopefully gain an understanding of her place in the world. Little does she know how life changing the journey will be.
Maddy and Lillian are wonderfully written, their budding romance is wonderful, as is the way Maddy can see right past Lillian's gruff exterior. Sarah has given us a wonderful cast of supporting characters and a story that engrosses you from the start. I really like the way Sarah writes, she doesn't bombard you with huge passages of facts and data in setting up this new world, but masterfully weaves snippets of important history and information throughout the story. The Salbine Sisters has everything you would want, at heart a romance but liberally laced with adventure, humour and character growth that has you cheering them on. It's a complete story with no threads left hanging, yet there are some intriguing elements of the story that call out for another book, I'd love to read more in the story of Maddy and Lillian and the Salbine Sisters.