Page Count 352
Publication date June 2022
-Alone in the world, Asher Todd travels to the remote estate of Morwood Grange to become governess to three small children. Her sole possessions comprise a sea chest and a large carpet bag she hangs onto for dear life. She finds a fine old home, its inhabitants proud of their lineage and impeccable reputation, and a small village nearby. It seems an untroubled existence, yet there are portraits missing from the walls, locked rooms, and names excised from the family tree inscribed in the bible.
In short order, the children adore her, she becomes indispensible to their father Luther in his laboratory, and her potions are able to restore the sight of granddame Leonora. Soon Asher fits in as if she’s always been there, but there are creatures that stalk the woods at night, spectres haunt the halls, and Asher is not as much a stranger to the Morwoods as it might at first appear.
I was initially unsure of requesting this title, my opinion of Slatter’s previous novel All The Murmuring Bones was slightly above average but the cover and synopsis for The Path Of Thorns drew me in regardless- I’m glad it did.
There’s a noticeable improvement in the plot and pacing of TPOT, Slatter withholds enough information from the beginning to encourage investment in the mysteries. Asher arrives at Morwood with secrets and motives unknown to us and a burning hatred that screams of a history to uncover.
I found the writing a little inconsistent, the prose is occasionally out of sync with the time period in which The Path Of Thorns is set.
Although this was noticeable enough to break my focus it was of little detriment to the overall reading experience as I was easily drawn back in.
I was pleased to find Slatter has again added short fairytales within the story, as you might guess from the cover Little Red Riding Hood is heavily featured. The tales are beautifully written and hint at subtext leading the reader to consider their relation to the main plot and what hidden motives might be revealed.
Told in first person from Asher’s perspective, it’s clear she is on a revenge mission but her kind heart isn’t darkened by it. Her character is well developed through the interactions and relationships built with those around her, this alongside Asher’s inner monologue creates a kinship with the reader that held my interest well.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Path Of Thorns, great for fans of Arden, Ernshaw or Novik.