A Season of Monstrous Conceptions

Recorded Books. Oct. 2023. 4 hrs. ISBN 9798890590909. $23.99. FANTASY
Rather’s (Sisters of the Vast Black) historical fantasy novella tackles eldritch monsters and societal issues. Sarah Davis is a midwife’s apprentice in 17th-century London, where babies are born with gills, horns, and other signs of their connection to the Other Place. Sarah herself was born with an uncanny mutation, which makes her valuable to certain people. She is certainly valuable to Lady Faith, who has asked Sarah to help with her pregnancy, and her husband, Sir Christopher Wren, who seeks to understand the Other Place. So many forces wish to harness Sarah’s potential, but she isn’t sure whom to trust. Sarah doesn’t feel she belongs in the village where she was born, nor does she fit among the upper crust of London society she serves. Amy Scanlon’s British accent immerses readers in this unsettling London while fleshing out Sarah as a sympathetic protagonist. Sarah’s iron will and desire to find trustworthy relationships make her a fallible but well-suited role model for those struggling to find their place.
VERDICT With notes of cosmic horror and fantasy, Rather’s haunting tale inscribes the struggles of people on the margins seeking stability while discovering their talents and self-worth.
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