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The Steep and Thorny Way

Review

The Steep and Thorny Way

Cat Winters, author of IN THE SHADOW OF BlACKBIRDS and THE CURE FOR DREAMING, brings us another historical fiction novel set in the 1920’s that is also a retelling Shakespeare’s “Hamlet."

Hanalee Denney doesn’t really fit in. She is the daughter of an African American man and a white woman, and has few rights because of her slightly darker complexion. Even the Klu Klux Klan causes a strain in Hanalee’s strongest friendships.

I’ve only ever read books where monsters or aliens are the villains...but in THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY, Cat Winters excellently shows how America’s own history was full of horrors, solely because of the people, not make-believe creatures.

A year ago, Hanalee’s father was hit by a drunk-driving teenager and died from his injuries. Hanalee has just come to terms with her father’s passing when the boy responsible, Joe, is released from jail. Joe claims that he’s innocent in her dad’s death and begins to blame Hanalee’s step-father.

With the help of Joe and her father’s ghost, Hanalee is determined to discover the secrets behind her father’s death and what the people of Elston are really hiding.

I’ve only ever read books where monsters or aliens are the villains --- not people. Most of these books are based in alternate worlds or the distant future, but in THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY, Cat Winters excellently shows how America’s own history was full of horrors, solely because of the people, not make-believe creatures.

The number one reason I really enjoyed this book is because of its unpredictability. There were many times during this book where I though I could use my great Sherlockian skills and piece everything together, but I was so wrong. This book has so many twists and turns, but in the end everything connects perfectly and leaves the reader in awe.

I recommend THE  STEEP AND THORNY WAY to those who’ve read Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” since this novel is a retelling. This novel is also great for historians who would like to walk in the shoes of someone who lived in the 1920s and view what life would have been like for an outcast like Hanalee.

Reviewed by Asia H., Teen Board Member on March 4, 2016

The Steep and Thorny Way
by Cat Winters