Jess Wells is the author of 12 volumes of work, including 4 novels and 4 books of short stories. Her latest, A Slender Tether, explores ambition, desire, disillusionment and the struggle to belong, set in France in the 1300s. Amid the turbulent weather of Europe's Little Ice Age, "A Slender Tether" offers three compelling tales of self-discovery, woven into a rich tapestry of 14th century France. Christine de Pizan, daughter of a disgraced court physician and astrologer, grapples with her ambition to be the first woman writer in France. A doctor finds an unusual way to cope with the death of his wife. And opportunity alternates with disasters in the lives of four commoners, yoked by necessity: a paper-maker struggling to keep his business, a falconer with a mysterious past, a merchant's daughter frantic to avoid an arranged marriage, and a down-on-his-luck musician with a broken guitar and the voice of an angel.
The Mandrake Broom, her previous volume, dramatizes the fight to save medical knowledge during the witch-burning times in Europe 1465-1540.