Sara Zagorski, Gold Mine Thrift Retail Manager, recommends Nettle & Bones by T. Kingfisher.
So, a pseudo-nun, magical mortician, evil fairy godmother, convicted murderer, and a dog made of bones walk into a bar…
Nettle & Bones is a fairy tale turned on its head, as told from the perspective of Marra, the third-born princess of a small city-state. Her home is under constant threat, surrounded by far larger domains eager to get their hands on the Harbor Kingdom and the valuable trade channels it contains.
Her mother, the queen—being politically minded and determined to protect both the land and her people—promises her eldest daughter to the Northern Kingdom’s prince. A textbook move in the medieval world, guaranteeing their security and that someday the Northern King’s blood will sit on the throne.
All goes according to plan, until the princess dies, having fallen down a staircase not long after her arrival in the north and union with the prince. Marra is too young to truly grasp her sister’s passing, but after a brief mourning period, she notices a change in her remaining sister, Kania. And then she realizes—with no heir provided by his deceased wife, the prince will take another, and Kania is next in line.
As the pieces start coming together to form a grim, larger puzzle. . .Marra knows she must do something. She must kill the prince. She just has no idea how.
Though timid by nature, defiance towards the system hellbent on controlling women and using them as breeding stock has her rallying against her mother’s plan. As a result, she gets sent to a distant nunnery, where she grows up relatively peacefully, performing all the duties of a not-quite nun.
When she’s suddenly summoned to the north, she learns her sister Kania has gone into labor. Sadly, the baby is lost. While mourning alone together, Marra notices dark bruises covering her sister’s forearms when her long sleeves fall back. As the pieces start coming together to form a grim, larger puzzle, suddenly—for the first time in her life—Marra knows she must do something. She must kill the prince. She just has no idea how.
This book is a satisfying, humorous, and sometimes brutal retelling of all your childhood tropes. Marra is a refreshing, unconventional lead and the cast of characters she encounters are as equally enthralling. My long-winded synopsis didn’t even get to the best parts, so you should definitely read it.