Daria is an educated single woman, a rarity in the ancient world. When her services as a tutor are no longer needed she seeks employment at a local academy, but there she sees evidence of the dark magic and secrets that haunted her earlier marriage. When she attempts to rescue a young girl whose mind and body are threatened by sorcery, Daria is aided by a merchant who then offers safe passage to Ephesus and eventually a job as his tutor. Although the plan is that she will teach Lucas the many foreign languages that he needs to be more successful, Daria soon learns that his priorities lie elsewhere. Driven by her natural curiosity, Daria tries to learn what haunts the merchant, and her efforts led her to a group of sorcerers who threaten the old ways of Ephesus and its worship of the God Artemis. She also discovers that Lucas has a connection with the mysterious group led by a tent maker Paul and his young friend Timothy. When Lucas is falsely accused of murder, Daria begins to see the truth that Paul has been preaching on the streets and in area homes.
Higley, in a commentary after the book, explains that her story tries to flesh out the daily conflicts that Paul faced in Ephesus, especially the dark clouds of superstition, magic, and false religion that entangled so many. She also mentions drawing on the classic romance Rebecca for the relationship between Lucas and Daria, and after reading that comment, I could see the parallel. I listened to the audio version of this title and loved the narrative details of Lucas's estate and the city itself. Like all audio books, the narrator has to alter his/her voice for all the characters and this is not always successful, especially for characters of the opposite sex. This audio was well done, except that I found Paul's accent European and overdone. In no way should that discourage anyone from listening to SO SHINES THE NIGHT or from reading the book. I downloaded SO SHINES THE NIGHT at WPLC, our Wisconsin libraries' source for ebooks and audio books.