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Bitterthorn

"This dazzling YA gem melds a thrilling high-stakes fairy tale scenario with suspenseful, slow-burn Sapphic romance"

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

Shortlisted for the Nero Book Awards 2023

“Love was a leap of faith”. “Love made life rich”. These sentiments underpin Kat Dunn’s fairy tale infused Bitterthorn, a brilliantly spun Sapphic love story that evokes elements of Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin and Sleeping Beauty to create an edge-of-your- seat, original story that throngs with longing.  

An outsider in her own family, Mina lives in Blumwald, where her father is the duke. Haunted by loneliness and losing her mother, Mina finds solace walking in nature. Among the twisted trees, she “felt power in my independence: far, far safer to be alone than to want and be unwanted”.  

At the same time, Blumwald lives under the shadow of a curse. Every fifty years, a Witch “would descend from her castle to take a companion. One young man plucked out and never seen again”. Around the anniversary of her mother’s death, Mina volunteers herself when the Witch comes to stake her claim. The first woman to go with the Witch, on arriving at the castle, Mina feels “trapped in a prison of my own foolish making”. In time, though, she moves from fear and “the pain of self-inflicted isolation” to wanting to understand the Witch and the secrets of the curse.   

While the truths Mina discovers are terrifying, love, longing and the realisation that “other people can be salvation” leads her to take a courageous path. Suspenseful, atmospheric and romantic, this is an utterly enchanting tale.

Joanne Owen

Star Books

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