Swan Lake meets The Last Unicorn by way of the Brothers Grimm in a dreamy, original fairytale in verse which transports readers to the Bavarian Alps.
Bavaria. 1880. Hilde was dreamed into existence by the god Odin, and along with her five sisters, granted cloaks that transform them into swans. Each sister’s cloak is imbued with a unique gift, but Hilde rejects her gift which connects her to the souls of dying creatures and forces her to shepherd them into the afterlife—the “Other Wood.”
While guiding the soul of a hawk to the Other Wood, Hilde meets the handsome Baron Maximilian von Richter, whose father was once a favorite of the king and left him no inheritance. Hilde is intrigued by Richter’s longing for a greater life and strikes a deal with him: She will manifest his dreams of riches, and in return, he will take her to the human world, where she will never have to guide souls again.
But at the court of King Ludwig II in Munich, Hilde struggles to fit in. After learning that fashionable ladies are having themselves painted, she hires non-binary Jewish artist Franz Mendelson, and is stunned when Franz renders her with swan wings. The more time she spends with Franz, the more she feels drawn to the artist’s warm, understanding nature, and the more controlling Richter becomes. When Hilde’s swan cloak suddenly goes missing, only Franz’s ability to paint souls can help Hilde escape her newfound prison.