Heat Factor: Medium-ish heat, tastefully and sweetly done
Character Chemistry: Just so meant to be.
Plot: Two deeply lonely women find themselves thrown together in a deep and scary wood and end up finding themselves (but together)
Overall: This was like a Matryoshka doll of a story–so many details that just kinda stick in your brain and cling in the best way.
So in this really tender and vulnerable story, we have the well-behaved and always agreeable Jane, who is about to be engaged to the town catch. When she’s attacked by a Beast during a shortcut through the forest, she’s saved and nursed back to health by the forest witch, who as it turns out is a really gorgeous and strong woman of great power and talent. (Swoon.)
Adelaide is a bit prickly and harsh at first, but in part it’s because she’s clearly been rejected so many times and in so many cruel ways and in part it’s that those rejections have kind of freed her from any feeling of responsibility of being falsely “nice”. This is the first kind of chemical reaction between Jane and Adelaide–Jane absolutely needs to find her own shiny spine and Adelaide needles her to the point of growth.
Adelaide, on the other hand, immediately assumes the worst in people. It becomes a real impediment to creating connections with others, because she ends up scaring off people who end up believing the terrible lies about her, etc. So the way that Jane pays such close attention to people (because she’s got to know what will make everyone happy!) means that she’s able to read situations and people way more intuitively and helps Jane see the good in people.
I was SO excited to see Jane and Adelaide’s mess–I thought at first they’d have an external crisis, but ultimately the crisis came from the two of them. And it was SO insightful and productive.
I keep going over all the little emotional easter eggs in this story–it’s kind of a really tender allegory for coming out and defying expectations and prejudice to create a life worth living. It’s two women trying to find a way to live their lives both happily in their own skin and together–about shedding the weight of things we feel obligated to carry to satisfy other people. So, it’s both romantic and really insightful.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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