A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic kept both the countryside and Violet happy.
That is, until her father’s treason destroyed everything.
Now she’s been given a chance to return home. But Burleigh isn’t what she remembered. Wild with grief, Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain. As its tormented magic ravages the countryside, Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.
A house left unchecked will lead to ruin.
But I will not let it ruin me.
Warnings: self-harm, emotional abuse
This book about a house with a character was bound to interest me, even if there wasn’t the fact that the author’s debut book The Light Between Worlds was one of my favorite reads of 2018. Weymouth’s handling of emotional issues and the themes of home, belonging, and family are exceptional, and this book, too, delivers on that quite well. The story is about Violet, who is the daughter of the Caretaker of Burleigh House, one of the Great Houses, and her return to it to hope to restore it. She is challenged by the King with a deadline, and a disadvantage in that he has kept the safe way to channel the House’s magic out of her reach, so she has to figure out a way to do it without taking on the ill effects of the magic.
“Perhaps my House is broken, but we are a matched set, split apart in the same place, and a broken girl is just the thing for a broken House.”
The mythology of the Great Houses is an interesting backdrop to this emotional story, and also forms the main conflict in the story. Bound, a House is obligated to obey the King, but a Caretaker can channel its magic for the good of the land. Still, there are inherent risks involved in handling a temperamental, fussy House that loves her but also can harm her. The bond between her and the House was formed from her childhood, when she could easily communicate with it, and with the instillation of her duty to her house from that same time, she can’t help but put the House first every time. It is a tense situation, dancing on the border between love and abuse, as she takes a more dangerous path that could get her on treason charges like her father. She has her family – who were her father’s staff – and her childhood friend Wyn to support her, but they are all of the opinion that she should be leaving it behind before the House takes her. Esperanza and Albert were cute and adorable additions to the plot that I loved. And the characterization of the house itself gave me some Cabeswater feels (I can’t help the comparison, okay, when it was the thing that drew me to this book!)
The main mystery in the story is her father’s quest to find the deed to the house, and Violet seeks to go further and fulfill her father’s failed goal. That and the mystery of why Wyn was asked to join her father in his house arrest, as well as why the House is failing are the parts that she wants to investigate. For the most part, the story keeps the pace of this mystery well in hand but about mid-way through the book things did get a bit slow and my interest flagged. It recovered in the last quarter of the book, giving us a tense ending, and a well-done conclusion. And while it wasn’t up to the level of her debut book, this one was still quite good.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Harper Teen, via Edelweiss.
Also by this author
Releases on September 10, 2019
One thought on “ARC Review: A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth”
Oh man now I’m even more excited to read this one! I didn’t read the author’s debut novel, but I’m glad I get to try this one. Thanks for the great review 🙂