Rhea is an ordinary miller’s daughter, engaged to be married under suspicious circumstances to a man not of her choosing. He has unknown powers and a manor house full of mysterious women.
Rhea has a hedgehog.
It’s probably not going to be enough. – Goodreads
This was a fun, slightly dark tale that will be a joy to read for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Patricia C. Wrede.
While the writing itself is perfectly fine (although Rhea’s thoughts can get a bit repetitive) and the story is pretty much what you expect it to be (in broad strokes, if not the fine details), it is the characters that really set this book apart from others like it and elevate this to a four star read. Each of the characters here is a nuanced, multifaceted person, a fact which brought a lot of depth to an otherwise easy story.
Rhea acts and sounds like an actual 15 year old girl and I liked that the book didn’t shy away from some of the darker aspects of why a much older man would want to marry a girl that age. Kingfisher also takes the time to show the reader what a logical, reasonable, kind young woman Rhea is through her interactions with other characters, as opposed to just telling you how special she is. There is interesting conversation about why some characters want to help the villain when they themselves are a victim of him, and characters who you were not quite sure which side they fell on until the very end. All of this come together really well to create an incredibly believable fairy tale.
I am definitely looking forward to reading more of T. Kingfisher’s work.