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Olivia Waite is a romance author, practicing feminist, and wide-ranging dilettante.

Something is rotten in the state of Oregon.

The Steep and Thorny Way - Cat Winters

This 1920s retelling of Hamlet set in rural Oregon with a biracial heroine more than lives up to its premise. I have family there and was thrilled to see how true to the setting this book is -- the woods and creeks, the brambles, the sense of emptiness and isolation paired with small-town "everyone knows my business" paranoia ... It's excellently done, and it's a great background for a Hamlet retelling. Hanalee's voice is engaging and unique without going overboard on the quirkiness, and she felt like a real teenager under way more stress than she deserved. She gets anxious, and makes rash decisions, and I was pulling for her every step of the way.


Would have been five stars except that some of the threat scenes felt a little too voyeuristic -- like we were supposed to enjoy watching our main characters be hurt by the antagonists. That's a particular pet peeve of mine, but your opinion may differ.