A stand-alone fantasy book.


Publication year: 2015

Format: Audio

Running time: 6 hours, 47 minutes
Narrator: Kaylin Heath

Rhea is the local miller’s 15-year-old daughter. It was a great surprise to her and her family when Lord Crevan announced that he will marry her. Commoners don’t turn down lords and Rhea knows that if she doesn’t agree, her parents will probably lose the mill. Rhea has no choice but to agree. The Lord says that he’s a sorcerer which scares Rhea but otherwise, she doesn’t know what to think.

The Lord wants Rhea to visit his manor house, which is near enough that she can walk there, but Rhea doesn’t remember seeing a manor nearby. Despite a growing unease, she packs her best dress and starts to walk. The road is very different from what she remembers and more dangerous. On the road, she befriends a hedgehog. It doesn’t talk but otherwise seems far more intelligent than usual. When Rhea finally arrives at the manor, she finds out that the lord has been lying about a lot of things. Such as the fact that he already has six wives, most of them alive.

This was another delightful Kingfisher fantasy. It has a fairy tale feel and is a reimagining of Bluebeard. This also means that the magic isn’t explained at all.

Rhea is a smart, intelligent, and determined girl. She’s used to working hard and has no illusions about her future or place in society. Practical, as is usual for Kingfisher. However, Rhea does rely on the hedgehog a lot. She’s the only POV character. I also liked most of the rest of the cast. A bit surprisingly, Crevan is left more an archetype than a real character.

There’s no rape threat against Rhea which was very nice. Rhea thinks a couple of times if the lord will want a child, but he wants something else from her. There’s also no romance element.

However, the tone shifted quite a lot from the start where Rhea is fighting an evil swan that wants to take her lunch, to a more horror style when she arrives at the manor. Also, some quirky Kingfisher humor is thrown in from time to time.

I enjoyed this story a lot. It has some horror elements, but not too much for my taste. Although the birds which had stones for eyes gave them creeps as well as one scene later in the book.