Well, this was fun. A little bit history, (Eleanor of Aquitaine), a little bit woo woo (Mexican brujas [witches or shamans], a little bit paranormal (appearances of djinns), and a little bit of confusion on my part (because sometimes all the spark plugs are not firing properly).
Silvina Kestral agrees to clear out the house of an eccentric dead actress amidst the ruins of a medieval priory in the French Pyrenees where she comes across references to the Daughters of Babylon, and comes across a tall dark stranger in the attic. A Mexican cane cutter with a party of witches and a sense of rhyme, a 19-year-old, badly married queen named Eleanor of Aquitaine, and a modern day poet, feature prominently.
It’s all about poetry, portals to other dimensions, (I think). The blurb says “Literary historical mysteries, split timeline puzzle mysteries, magical realism mystery: whatever term you choose to label them, the ability of these genre-blending books to trap the reader in a labyrinth of intrigue and wonder.” Yep. I was intrigued, all right.
More blurb: “Crusader battles in the Holy Land, painful love affairs and courtly romance, a remote French community not far from Carcassonne where events in the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine still resonate powerfully today: some of the ingredients of Daughters of Babylon might appear familiar at first. But spiced with Gabo-style Mesoamerican magical realism courtesy of the Mexican nagual and his witches, … we begin to learn from the understanding of cyclical deep time known to the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans, and we see that at some level these times are not separated at all. The links between these times have been induced for a noble purpose; they are not coincidences, nor contrived ‘leakage’ across time due to a dramatic event. This book describes a maniobra, a magical deep time maneuver of extraordinary complexity.”
Enjoyable story, with a soupçon of implausibility if you are of a pragmatic turn of mind, but I think if we call it fabulism, we can get comfortable with the whole idea.