A lush and twisted dark fairy tale suffused with witchcraft, dark secrets and bitter revenge from the award-winning author. Exquisite, haunting and at times brutal, readers of Naomi Novik and Erin Morgenstern will be entranced.
Asher Todd comes to live with the mysterious Morwood family as a governess to their children. Asher knows little about being a governess but she is skilled in botany and herbcraft, and perhaps more than that. And she has secrets of her own, dark and terrible – and Morwood is a house that eats secrets. With a monstrous revenge in mind, Asher plans to make it choke. However, she becomes fond of her charges, of the people of the Tarn, and she begins to wonder if she will be able to execute her plan – and who will suffer most if she does. But as the ghosts of her past become harder to control, Asher realises she has no choice.
From the award-winning author of All the Murmuring Bones, dark magic, retribution and twisted family secrets combine to weave a bewitching and addictive tale.
Slatter returns to her Sourdough universe (following All the Murmuring Bones) for a standalone dark, feminist fairy tale. Asher Todd arrives at Morwood manor as a governess carrying a dark secret. She's there to exact revenge against the family and fulfill a promise to her mother, all using forbidden witchcraft that she must keep a secret or risk arrest and execution. She hastily puts a sinister scheme into action, but her plans go awry as she finds the Morwoods have dark motives of their own. The more Asher's forced to pivot, the more she becomes entangled in the web of secrets and lies she has woven, and the greater the cost of her eventual victory becomes. Slatter's careful prose gradually builds a delicious tension, culminating in a genuinely satisfying twist. The tale draws inspiration from a medley of European folklore and creatures, and delves deeply into their thematic implications, interrogating motherhood, obligation, and toxic family dynamics. Boasting an unflinchingly morally gray heroine and all the grit and nuanced political awareness of Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver or Ava Reid's The Wolf and the Woodsman, this is a truly enthralling fantasy.