Review 267. Cat Winters - The Steep and Thorny Way.

22838927Title: The Steep and Thorny Way.
Author:  Cat Winters.
Pages:  352 pages
Published: March 8th 2016
Source: I received an ARC copy from the publisher Amulet books, thanks!
A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten. 1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all. The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night


Cat Winters has been on my favorite list ever since I read In the shadow of blackbirds. She followed up with the fantastic The cure for dreaming and The uninvited. The Steep and Thorny way did not fail to impress me and Cat continues to blow me away.

Hanalee Denney is the daughter of a white mother, Greta, and an African father, Hank. Her father died in an accident caused by Joe Adder and her mother remarried Clyde Koning, the doctor who treated her father the night he died. When Joe is released from prison, Hanalee pays him a visit with a gun to get her revenge, but instead, she returns home with information that change everything.

This book, a reimagining of Hamlet, is set in a time where the Klu Klux Klan is spreading hate through Oregon. Both Hanalee and Joe have a lot to fear from them, especially when Hanalee finds out that her father wasn't killed by the accident. Joe told her that he did not kill Hank, but that something else is going on and Hanalee is set to find out what truly happened that night. There is also has a LGBTQI subplot, which creates a powerful story with a paranormal touch.

Cat is a master in creating strong heroines and Hanalee is no exception. She is a brave, fierce girl who will not rest until she figures out why her father was killed. I did not feel a lot of connection with Joe, but his subplot added more tension and truly shows the reach and effect of hatred from close-minded people. 

I felt like the supernatural aspect could have been more prominent, but overall it was a perfectly blended into the story. It is also obvious that the author, again, did a lot of research before writing this book and I love that they continued to use old photographs. It definitely sets her books apart from others, together with her signature writing-style. Highly recommended.


  1. I need to check this out! A reimagining of Hamlet already sounds intriguing, and the rest of the plot only makes it sound that much better. :) Thanks for this review!

  2. YOU are the reason that all of those Cat Winters books are on my tbr shelf...and this one will follow in a few minutes :D I love Hamlet so I can't wait to see what she does with it! Strong heroines and an author who does her research is my bread and butter! Lovely review^^

  3. Ah I've heard so many good things about Cat Winters' books - I must read them! Excellent review! :)

  4. Yay :D Awesome review Mel. <3 So glad you enjoyed this one a bunch. I loved it :) Cat is just all kinds of awesome. <3 Thank you for sharing :)


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