The story has two point of views. In the first a farm girl somehow ends up moving to a city, and working for a nobleman. She ends up falling in love with the nobleman's friend and constant companion. The nobleman is working to recover the last secrets of magic, which he believes are hidden in folk stories and songs. He is portrayed as very dedicated to this task, commonly forgetting to eat while he spends hours working. The girl works for him copying the spell manuscripts that the Noble obtains or produces.. At some point the Noble takes on students/apprentices The nobleman thinks that she cannot read and is merely copying the shapes but she can actually read and notices that the manuscripts he gives her to copy have been changed from the original form, specifically the manuscripts intended to give extended life. It seems that the Noble did this maliciously and intends to gain power over his friend and his students.

The girl and the noble's friend plan to escape with the original copies, but the noble's friend never shows up and the girl ends up getting her memory erased by the noble. She ends up living on the streets of the city and eventually opens a cheese shop. She is apparently immortal as she does not age, the apparent effect of the age extending manuscript, and closes and reopens the cheese shop every few decades so no one noticed her lack of aging. The novel ends with some attack? on the city and as she evacuatesone of the noble's students directs her out of the city

The second point of view is that of a boy in the future, many years after the girl was born. Magic has been restored and he goes to the academy to learn it. At the academy all the teachers are the noble's students from the girl's chapters. Life at the academy is very tough and there is intense competition to be the best. The boys end up murdering one of the others for reasons I cannot remember.

  • Welcome to SFF:SE. My only suggestion is that you have a look at our help page for story identification questions in hopes that it may jog your memory a little further. Lots of good detail already, though!
    – Politank-Z
    Nov 28, 2017 at 23:51
  • 4
    +1 in terms of the level of detail. For the record, I found this one by googling for ["fantasy novel" AND "rediscovering magic" AND "farm girl" AND "cheese"]
    – Valorum
    Nov 28, 2017 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


This is Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey, the first book in the 'A Resurrection of Magic' book series.

Sadima lives in a world where magic has been banned, leaving poor villagers prey to fakes and charlatans. A magician stole her family's few valuables and left Sadima's mother to die on the day Sadima was born. But vestiges of magic are hidden in old rhymes and hearth tales and in people like Sadima, who conceals her silent communication with animals for fear of rejection and ridicule. When rumors of her gift reach Somiss, a young nobleman obsessed with restoring magic, he sends Franklin, his lifelong servant, to find her.

Sadima's joy at sharing her secret becomes love for the man she shares it with. But Franklin's irrevocable bond to the brilliant and dangerous Somiss traps her, too, and she faces a heartbreaking decision. Centuries later magic has been restored, but it is available only to the wealthy and is strictly controlled by wizards within a sequestered academy of magic.

Several of the reviews mention a split perspective and there are extensive mentions of cheesemaking throughout the novel

The Gypsy symbols were intricate, and she was so much better at them than Franklin. She would help him finish copying the book, then she was going to leave, to make her way back to Ferne. Mattie would take her in. Then she would find a way to open a cheese shop in town. She would think of Franklin often, with sadness and love. Thanks to him, she knew that there were other people in the world like her. That was enough. She would learn not to listen to animals' thoughts and would concentrate on more useful skills. And she would do what Micah had done. She would find someone to love.

  • I read this series a while back. It might be more apt to call it a duology, since the third book has been coming out "next year" for the last four years.
    – Adamant
    Nov 29, 2017 at 0:37

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