The Audiobook of this is fantastic! I highly recommend it. I spent most of it mentally drawing purple sparkle hearts around Caz and Iselle.
The first book in the Chalion Trilogy, of which I had previously read the last book. A friend had attempted to sell me on it based on it's interesting a logical theology. She then mentioned that it was in part based on the ascension the throne of Isabella of Castile, which made more of an impression. She failed to mention, until after I'd gotten it, that the novel was from the point of view of a minor noble employed as young Iselle's secretary and tutor, a position earned after fighting and losing every minor war and border dispute Chalion had been in in the past sixteen years, a period as a galley slave and earning a case of PTSD. This sounds like every guy novel action hero ever, but he was actually quite lovely and loyal and kind, with authentic physical and emotional problems, not just macho manpain broken in a way that is meant to excuse him being a dick to everyone. Iselle had to operate within a very defined structure, no shield maidenly allowed, but once she figured out the system, she and her team worked it pretty adeptly, and the politics felt very real. Oh, and also, there were gods, and they were involved. Nice logical theology. Trigger warning for graphic descriptions of torture and rape.