The Last Tale of the Flower Bride

William Morrow. Feb. 2023. 304p. Tr $30. ISBN 9780063206502.
This novel begins with the wealthy and famous recluse Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada’s husband narrating as he meets and falls in love with her. It is almost a fairy tale of love at first sight, but from the beginning they keep secrets from each other. Over time he learns about Indigo and her childhood, while their own tangled web of secrets grows. Then Indigo’s best friend, Azure, tells of their wonderful yet obsessive friendship, and the magical world Indigo created for them. Fairy tales are infused into every aspect of the story, but slowly shift from Disney fantasy to Brothers Grimm mash-ups. Elements of “Snow White” dominate at first, like the girls’ pale skin and long silky black hair, so alike they are often mistaken for each other. But then notes of “Bluebeard” rise and forbidden rooms, forbidden memories, and forbidden futures seep in to build the tension to a breaking point. This twist on a contemporary fairy tale is a page-turner and culminates in a surprise ending.
VERDICT A gripping addition to the reimagined fairy-tale genre; give this to fans of Melissa Bashardoust’s Girls Made of Snow and Glass, Sarah J. Maas’s “A Court of Thorn and Roses” series, and Margaret Owen’s Little Thieves.

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