A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.
Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.
Cinderella meets Knives Out?! YES PLEASE! I mean, Cinderella is and will always be a classic, but gimme those EXTRA high stakes! And alllll the action and puzzles! I’m just obsessed with everything about this! And yeah, reading it didn’t disappoint either! There was so much mystery and intensity throughout the book that it will leave you flipping the pages needing more!
So yeah, there’s a lot that happens in this book and it comes down to the mastermind of Tobias Hawthorne. What a legend of an old man and what a way to pass on your inheritance! I mean puzzles, clues, and mysteries that must be solved in order to earn the inheritance? Just genius. And the characters! YES! But I literally don’t want to give anything away, so just take my excitement for reason enough to read this book.
This is a high stakes rags to riches story that gives you everything you want! There’s action and mystery and a splendid cast of characters. I went into this with high hopes and it really blew all my expectations out of the water. It’s both a fun read and and exciting one that younger and older audiences alike will fall in love with.
About the Author
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a “practice book” and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen.
Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She’ll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Release Date: March 3rd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT, Queer, Magic, Retellings, Romance
My favorite tutor said that other people’s siblings were noisy, argumentative talltales. My siblings tried to murder one another.
Claire Eliza Bartlett
An enchanted tale of intrigue where a duke’s daughter is the only survivor of a magical curse.
When Ekata’s brother is finally named heir, there will be nothing to keep her at home in Kylma Above with her murderous family. Not her books or science experiments, not her family’s icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness.
I had to go Below.
Claire Eliza Bartlett
In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother’s warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her own ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love…or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family’s power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield it.
Part Sleeping Beauty, part Anastasia, with a thrilling political mystery, The Winter Duke is a spellbinding story about choosing what’s right in the face of danger.
He stormed out, slamming the door behind him. We all jumped. I resisted the urge to giggle in hysterical relief.
I always say I am not a fan of retellings, yet I often find myself drawn to them. And, surprise surprise, enjoying them! What I’ve come to realize is that I really like retellings that are more Eastern European based. You know, the dark, dreary, and cold ones. So, of course I absolutely loved The Winter Duke!
But not this night. Tonight we had a strict no-murder policy.
Claire Eliza Bartlett
Let me just say that Barlett writes so gorgeously. I was just sucked in immediately and I was loving every moment of my read. This is definitely an atmospheric read, so everything is very visceral in it’s descriptions. But because of this a lot of stuff is left not fully described. Yet, it worked in this story! I feel like this helped certain important elements remain at the forefront while the writing style made up for why some other elements were only partially developed.
I preferred the study of bones and trees and the denizens. Below to the study of politics.
Claire Eliza Bartlett
Now, the other amazing part of this book is that it is gay. We’ve got an amazing queer mc romance and there was nothing strange about it. Oftentimes when you have LGBTQ+ representation in this setting there are some sort of hurdles the MCs need to overcome, but not in this world. In this book there were no gender norms and people were free to be who they were. I am definitely looking forward to reading some more Bartlett (I’m already eyeing The Good Girls).
I am a writer and tour guide in Copenhagen, Denmark. Though I originally come from Colorado, I left the US when I was eighteen and I haven’t lived there since.
More permanent stops on my travels have included Switzerland, Wales and Denmark. The arrival of a Danish husband has somewhat cemented my living situation, but I get my travel in smaller doses these days.
I like to write fantasy, mostly, though I dabble in soft sci-fi. My short stories are more adult, my novels more YA.
I’ve studied history, archaeology, and writing. I like to take my inspiration from historical events, and the more unknown and inspiring the event, the better.
I am represented by Kurestin Armada of P.S. Literary.
To keep up with what strange things I’m researching and writing, you can sign up for my newsletter here. I send out a short newsletter once a month.
Prize: Win (1) finished copy of THE WINTER DUKE by Claire Eliza Bartlett (US Only)
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*I received an earc in exchange for an honest review*