The Steep & Thorny Way
Author: Cat Winters
Publication Date: March 8th 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
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 but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.
The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.
The Steep and Thorny Way is exactly what I've come to expect from Cat Winters, if you've read and loved one of her books, you'll know you get rich, authentic setting, it's history well researched and a book full of meaning, and The Steep and Thorny Way is no different.
The Steep and Thorny Way's stories are important to be told, from Hanalee and her parents, to Joe and a small town taken over by the KKK and the way minorities and people of a different religion, and people who 'don't quite fit in' were treated. And it's brutal and horrific and I'm sure, since it's YA, that it's less violent than it would've been, but it still has its impact, because it's hard to read it when you want to hurt characters every few pages, and believe me, you'll want to hurt certain characters every few pages.
However, the mystery surrounding Hanalee father’s death left me bored, even with the ghostly paranormal twist Cat Winters has, because it's more of a slow going plot, but it definitely went a different way than I was expecting it to, but it also went an important way that showed the way minorities were faced.
Setting aside the violence, there's also the fact that minorities had no rights or control over their own lives. No rights over who you can date and marry, if you can have children.
The Steep and Thorny Way shows you how far we've come since the 1920's, but it also shows how we haven't come far enough.