I received this free from the publishers via NetGalley
Hanalee Denney is the daughter of an African American man and a white woman, which is why 1920s Oregon is an unwelcoming and dangerous place for her. The KKK have been gaining more power and more influence. Hatred and fear spread by the KKK are poisoning some of her oldest relationships. Hanalee’s father was killed a year ago by a drunk driver, but when he is released from jail and is back in town, he claims he didn’t kill her father. So now Hanalee, who is now desperate for answers, turns to her fathers accused murderer and her father’s ghost.
I have always been a huge fan of Cat Winters. Her books are very atmospheric with brilliantly written historical settings, made even better alongside many old black and white photos from the time period. I believe The Steep and Thorny Way is Cat Winters best book to date.
Firstly, I was in love with many of the main characters. Hanalee for one, is easy to love. She’s smart, brave, and she tackles her problems head on. There were some great f/f friendships as well. But the friendship I loved most was between Hanalee and Joe. It was fantastic! So well written and complex. A accused murderer and the daughter of the man he had supposedly murdered. Both suffered because they were not deemed to be truly American – Hanalee wasn’t white and Joe wasn’t straight. There were race laws and eugenic laws – compulsory and forced sterilisation on anyone deemed ‘undesirable’. The KKK was gaining more power and more hatred in the area. Lifelong friends were turned into enemies and Oregon was a dangerous place for Hanalee and Joe. A fantastic read with fantastic characters.
I loved the paranormal aspect because it was very subtle and not too ‘in your face’ which sort of added a hint of realism to it. The plot was fast paced and held my attention very well. The Steep and Thorny Way is a book about hope, loyalty, and friendship, but also about hatred, persecution and fear.
Another fantastic novel from Cat Winters! Would definitely recommend to Historical Fiction lovers.
MY RATING: ★★★★★