Book Review,  Fantasy,  LGBTQ+,  Magical Realm

Thistlefoot

ThistlefootThistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A retelling of the old Russian/Ukraine/Belarus stories about Baba Yaga and her chicken-footed house. This time around though, she’s not just a creepy, child-eating monster. Many years have passed since Baba’s time, and now her progeny, Bellatine and her brother Isaac, have inherited Baba’s chicken-footed house (which arrives in America in a really large shipping container).

Bellantine and Isaac decide on the only logical (in their minds) thing to do with their new home. Having grown up with theatrical parents and knowing quite a bit about putting on a show themselves, they name the house Thistlefoot and take it on a country-wide tour, putting on shows for the locals from the house’s balcony.

That’s the initial premise. But there’s *so* much more going on inside the house, inside Isaac, and most intensely, inside Bellatine. While the trio struggle to find their place in the world, we slowly learn their secrets. And we meet the various people who can’t help but latch onto them – as well as one particularly dangerous guy who won’t stop following them.

This is a rather huge book, written in elaborate, beautiful prose. It’s not going to be a quick read, the words need to be savored. If you are the impatient sort, you might find the style irritating. If you adore the beauty of words, I think you’ll love it.

I have only read one other book this surreal and beautiful, with such a broad scope of history, human nature, real magic, love and lust, hatred and destruction. On my bookshelf, Thistlefoot belongs right next to Tom Robbin’s Jitterbug Perfume.

My thanks to GennaRose Nethercott, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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