A Novel

eBook, 448 pages

English language

Published Sept. 12, 2022 by Anchor.

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4 stars (3 reviews)

In the tradition of modern fairytales like American Gods and Spinning Silver comes a sweeping epic rich in Eastern European folklore--a debut novel about the ancestral hauntings that stalk us, and the uncanny power of story.

The Yaga siblings--Bellatine, a young woodworker, and Isaac, a wayfaring street performer and con artist--have been estranged since childhood, separated both by resentment and by wide miles of American highway. But when they learn that they are to receive a mysterious inheritance, the siblings are reunited--only to discover that their bequest isn't land or money, but something far stranger: a sentient house on chicken legs.

Thistlefoot, as the house is called, has arrived from the Yagas' ancestral home in Russia--but not alone. A sinister figure known only as the Longshadow Man has tracked it to American shores, bearing with him violent secrets from the past: fiery memories that have hidden in Isaac and Bellatine's …

5 editions


4 stars

Enjoyed the setting and what Nethercott was getting at with this story. Interesting storytelling and world building with themes of personal, familial, generational, and cultural trauma. It can get dark but didn’t feel too heavy. The folklore tie-ins felt especially well done and I wish there was more exploration of the world, but it wasn’t that kind of story.

And look, I hated Isaac. Almost quit reading because of the character. Then eventually I saw parts of my past trauma responses reflected in his behavior and it clicked why I hated him so much. I still feel his backstory required me to give him too much of a pass, but hurt people hurt people and we all react and hurt differently.

Thistlefoot, by GennaRose Nethercott

5 stars

Isaac and Bellatine Yaga don’t know much about their heritage. A grandmother or great-grandmother came over from Russia, but that’s really about it. So when they receive word that they’ve inherited something from a relative in Ukraine, it comes as a total surprise. The inheritance also brings the siblings together for the first time in years. In Thistlefoot, the utterly amazing novel by GennaRose Nethercott, I found a modern fairy tale that balances enchanting magic and possibilities with ancient darkness...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

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4 stars