The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi – ARC Review!

Once upon a time, a man who believed in fairy tales married a beautiful, mysterious woman named Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada. He was a scholar of myths. She was heiress to a fortune. They exchanged gifts and stories and believed they would live happily ever after–and in exchange for her love, Indigo extracted a promise: that her bridegroom would never pry into her past.

But when Indigo learns that her estranged aunt is dying and the couple is forced to return to her childhood home, the House of Dreams, the bridegroom will soon find himself unable to resist. For within the crumbling manor’s extravagant rooms and musty halls, there lurks the shadow of another girl: Azure, Indigo’s dearest childhood friend who suddenly disappeared. As the house slowly reveals his wife’s secrets, the bridegroom will be forced to choose between reality and fantasy, even if doing so threatens to destroy their marriage . . . or their lives.

“I had been enchanted with Indigo from the moment I met her.”

There was once a man who believed in fairy tales who fell in love with a woman who could have crawled from one herself. Their marriage was filled with magic and stories and love, and in exchange for it all Indigo asked only one simple price, that her bridegroom would never delve into her past. That seemed so easy at first, but as humans we are naturally curious and when Indigo and her bridegroom get called back to her childhood home ‘the house of dreams’ he feels as though the house is calling to him, trying to get him to see something, something that involves a young girl called Azure, Indigo’s childhood friend. The deeper he delves, the more the house reveals his wife’s secrets and before long the bridegroom will have to choose between the magical world they have created for themselves, or to finally let reality in.

“Don’t get confused, child. You and I are not like the Indigo’s of the world,’ said Tati. ‘ People like her can remake reality as they so wish, but we are forced to live in the lands they leave behind.”

The Last tale of the Flower Bride was a seductive tale that showcases the danger of secrets, manipulation and how sometimes the believing in the ‘magical’ is easier than letting reality in. The story is told from two POV’s; The Bridegroom, Indigo’s husband, a scholar of the magical who found himself swept into her world after asking to view a grimoire from her family’s collection. They both have a love of stories, of believing there is something magical out there, and are both desperate to find their way to that mystical world just beyond our reach, and that carried them through their first years of marriage. Our other POV is Azure, Indigo’s best friend from childhood who disappeared after their graduation night. Azure was the polar opposite of Indigo in many ways, but they shared a love for stories, and for each other that made them an inseparable pair.

“Sometimes fairy tales are little more than litany detailing acts of devotion. Sisters knit shirts of stinging thistles for brothers turned to swans. Wives wear out iron shoes. Princes scale mountains of glass. I supposed it was a matter of will. What would you do to be happy? To be loved?”

The story flits between the present and past POV’s keeping us readers on our toes, ensuring we are never quite sure if the magical tales we’re reading are true magic, or simply stories made up by children and people desperate to escape their reality for a little while. While Azure shows us Indigo growing up, learning how to manipulate not only the world, but those close to her, The Bridegroom shows us a different side to her. Still manipulative and dangerous, but skittish and afraid of the secrets returning to her childhood home would bring to light. But my favourite part of his POV was the stories. If you’re a lover of stories within stories then you seriously need to pick up this book. Chokshi weaves in folklore and fairy tales from around the world, with a focus on the creepy and darker themes. But what she does incredibly well is not just tell us the stories, rather she makes them fit into her own. Using them for foreshadowing, as well as clues to our characters backstories and motives.

“Every fairy tale has blood flecked on it’s muzzle. Sometimes it’s licked up in the second before the story begins – a queen slowly bleeding out onto her birthing bed, a plague having laid waste to a land before ‘Once upon a time’ slouches from the dark. But every so often, one can trace the thick flow of blood as it seeps from the pages.”

The writing style was incredibly prosaic and lyrical, I can’t tell you how many passages I highlighted because they were just that beautifully written. But this story tends towards introspection rather than action, so for readers who like their stories a little faster with plenty of energy to keep you intrigued, this might not be the one for you. However, if you enjoy being seduced by stories, having your version of reality tested, seeing the line between the magical and the mundane blur and never quite being sure where the story is heading then I cannot recommend this enough. I did guess the big twist rather early on in the story, but I’m blaming this on Chokshi’s skill at foreshadowing, rather than any skill on my part.

If you enjoy stories you can dig your teeth into, with unreliable narrators, stories within stories and plenty of romance I can’t recommend this enough. I was so eager to get my hands on this book and it did not disappoint!

11 replies »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s