Friday, April 8, 2016

Books I Love - THE STEEP & THORNY WAY by Cat Winters

The Steep & Thorny Way

Scene: Oregon, 1923.

Dramatis personae:

Hanalee Denney, daughter of a white woman and an African American man

Hank Denney, her father—a ghost

Greta Koning, Hanalee’s mother

Clyde Konig, doctor who treated Hank Denney the night he died, now Hanalee’s stepfather

Joe Adder, teenage boy convicted of accidentally killing Hank Denney

Members of the Ku Klux Klan

Townspeople of Elston, Oregon

Question: Was Hank Denney’s death an accident…or was it murder most foul?

I loved this update of HAMLET, it was clever and heartfelt. Although the book takes place in the 1920s, it's really easy to relate to Hanalee. Half black and half white, she feels like there is no place for her in the world. The social issues, racism and bigotry, are still alive today, but this historical look helps us see how far we've well as how far we have left to go. I also think Winters did an excellent job of taking what she needed from HAMLET, but not rehashing the same plot and characters. This is definitely a unique story.

Another amazing YA paranormal by Cat Winters!

Cat Winters is an award-winning author of YA and adult fiction. Her YA works include IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, and THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY. Her debut adult novel, THE UNINVITED, released in 2015, and her second book for adults, YESTERNIGHT, is coming October 4, 2016.

Winters was born and raised in Southern California, just a short drive down the freeway from Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. Visit her online at