Book Review: The Steep and Thorny Way


ashley | Cat Winters is easily one of my favourite authors, I say that anytime I read one of her books. But that’s what I move about her, every time I pick up a new book by her, it’s always so different from the last that it’s like I’m discovering a wonderful new author time and time again. This time around, Winters has reimaged Shakespeare’s Hamlet in The Steep and Thorny Way. Something that at first glance seems so far from her usual writing that I couldn’t pass it up.

I say it’s so far from her usual writing, but the elements I love are still there. There’s still a bit of supernatural, but there’s also a sociological element that Winters draws focus to. This time around its racism and prejudice against homosexuality and a town overrun by the Ku Klux Klan. Winters straddles a thin line between reawakening terrible horrors of the past and paying homage to those who lived through and survived these times, and she does it quite well. Not once did her words seem insulting or uninformed. She even choreographed a subtle dance around using certain terminology that would be common in the day but deemed incredibly offensive and insensitive now. There could be a lot of criticism about these sensitive topics but Winters handles the whole thing like a professional.

I loved Hanalee. You couldn’t keep her down, despite those who kept trying. And they did keep trying. There were some really horrible things that happen in this book. Things that were very vividly described and actually made my stomach turn and my heart ache for these people. And while I wasn’t certain of Joe to begin with, the friendship that grew between the two was really touching, the kind of relationship that makes me love books, the kind that inspires hope.

After all, this was a book about hope in a hopeless time. Every different element that Winters added to this worked together to build something that stuck with me well after I finished the last page.


more information
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march 8, 2016

copy provided for honest review by
Net Galley