A tale of two sisters unfolds in Winters’ (The Steep and Thorny Way, 2016, etc.) latest historical offering of monsters, magic, and family.
Storytelling and the blur between truth and fiction are at the heart of this metafictive narrative as sisters Trudchen “Tru” and Odette “Od” Grey each tell parts of their personal and family histories. In 1909, 15-year-old Tru, rendered pragmatic by life on an Oregon farm with a polio-related and painful disability, no longer believes her sister’s many fantastical tales of their mother’s adventures as a monster hunter. She is adamant that their family (and herself especially) is nothing but ordinary, but no sooner has Tru set aside fanciful hearth magic and fears of the supernatural than Od suddenly appears to whisk her away across the country to hunt down monsters. Od’s part of the story, on the other hand, begins 15 years earlier as she recounts a fraught family legacy of loss, pain, and perseverance and of the “real-life monsters” that stalk the stories of her mother’s and her own lives. As the sisters cautiously confront the legendary Leeds Devil, a demonic beast attacking New Jersey and nearby states in 1909, storytelling becomes both a weapon and a lens through which they come to see and better understand their family and themselves.
Winters has woven an intricate and innovative pattern of structure, genre, and history that cannot fail to capture readers’ imaginations. (Historical fiction. 14-adult)