My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“When your future husband is a mad sorcerer, following hedgehogs sometimes seems like the only option.”
Initially born as a retelling of Bluebeard, this story stands on its own and becomes something else entirely. For one, most of the wives are still alive in this version, and for some of them that’s definitely not an improvement.
Kingfisher/Vernon has a rare skill, in that she can imbue a book like this with humour and whimsical moments (like the aforementioned hedgehog) without detracting anything from the creepy, weird, fairy-tale horror atmosphere of the story – if anything enhancing it, as the cheerful bits make the horrible stand out even more.
If you love fairy tales, slightly genre-savvy protagonists, and helpful but snarky animals, this one’s for you.