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Cage the Darlings

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Only a blackbird girl can set her free...

Envy is a lucky lady with a secret vice: she's one of the best thieves in the kingdom--something her current employer, the king himself, has no knowledge of. When one of her more audacious gambles gets her caught, Envy thinks her luck's run out. Infuriated, the king banishes her to Bran Tower, a haunted, forgotten prison
Published November 2011
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  248 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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3.9 stars.

I'm partial to a fairy-tale with two leading ladies and an f/f romance at the center of it. This is an original tale by Elora Bishop, otherwise known as Sarah Diemer, the author of "The Dark Wife".

Bishop does a great job of showing us Envy's character instead of telling us. I particularly liked the first part of the story where we see Envy as a confident casanova and thief that ends up getting knocked down several pegs and locked in an enchanted tower when she goes too far
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Elora Bishop is another penname belonging to Sarah Diemer, for her adult fantasy books. Really, Cage the Darlings isn't that different in tone to her other work: it's a simple, sweet lesbian love story, very much in the fairytale tradition. It's more of a novella than a novel, in length, and is a very quick, easy read. And, like the versions of fairytales we all know, it has a happy ending.

I wanted more, really. More of the world, more of Merle and Envy. I wanted to know Lady Ann wou
Book Worm
Fairytale. I like fairytales very much and this has all the ingredients.
There is a poor thief, a little cock-sure, a little too daring, a little too disenchanted with the world. So, everything is set up for her to be enchanted, to be put down a peg, to peel away the sarcastic layers of her essentially, caring, loving and courageous heart. So where do we put her? Well, what about a "Rapunzel-tower", give her time to self-reflect? Enter a mysterious woman who wins her heart and now the tale spins
Loek Krancher
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fairy tales do come true!

She is a phenomenal thief and has a reputation to uphold but she is growing reckless. Little does she know what awaits her. What lies ahead is shocking and terrifying. When she receives a mysterious visit throughout the night, everything changed. This is a spellbinding fairy tale with an intriguing adventure, magical experiences and a delightful, touching romance. I loved how their relationship grew. The engaging characters have completely captured my heart and their
I bought Cage the Darlings by Elora Bishop in 2012. It sat, for all these years, on my overflowing want to read shelf.

It took an updated cover, new title and revised author's name to put Thief of Hearts on my currently reading shelf. The revised edition is still short, but longer than the average novella. If you like a well told fairytale, then grab this book and read it. Bridget Essex can write. The love between Envy and Merle is palpable. Passages from this book should be read slow
Eline || Lovely Audiobooks
This is a shortened version of my audiobook review.

Thief of Hearts is a beautiful fairytale Fantasy Romance about a thief and her blackbird girl.

Envy is a fantastic thief. Until she isn’t. She gets caught and is thrown into an enchanted prison tower where she’s all alone and would starve to death. Until a woman shows up out of nowhere. And while she can’t save her from the tower, she can provide company and food…

This is a short and fast-paced adventure love story. And i
Marthese Formosa
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Posted on The Lesbrary:

I love fairytales, especially those with a queer twist so I had to pick this book up! The story is about Envy, a thief working as a servant for a scheme she came up with and Merle, the blackbird princess who visits Envy once she gets locked up in Bran Tower. It is a romantic story but with a lot of personal changes and adventures. It is 104 pages in which Bishop weaves mysteries and magic.

The blurb of the book, which I did not read before reading the
Tanager Leigh
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
“Oh, moon and stars, it was delicious.” Thus narrated the heroine (named Envy) of the book Cage the Darlings by Elora Bishop just after her growing infatuation with the novel’s romantic interest (Merle) blossomed into something more. And indeed, at that point of my reading of the story, I felt exactly the same way!

Envy is a moderately successful thief in this medieval-like-setting fantasy novel filled with magic, curses, and odd topography. So, she gets busted for her thieving ways and ban
Lindley Walter-smith
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A really sweet, beautifully written sapphic fairytale with a heroine in a tower and a magic love-interest in peril. Teh actual plot is lightweight but satisfyingly fairytale-like, and the central romance and the messages of friendship and trsut and self-responsibility are really charming. This novella is one I will keep and read again when I meed a good comfort read. Really highly recommended.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing love story

To say it was good, is an understatement. This book is romantic, engaging, full of outstanding characters. Well developed and falls in to Bridget Knights world.
The thought of spending your life alone is imaginable. And Envy is such a loving and gentle woman, and I believe it's why love found her dispute being locked away and forgotten.
This is a must read for sure.. such an amazing story.
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, romance
(From my blog, Word Vagabond: Supporting Independent and Small Press Authors.)

Envy is doing a pretty good job of following in her mother’s footsteps as a thief, until her pride and ambition get the better of her. Caught stealing from the King’s daughter, the guards throw her in an inescapable tower and leave her for dead. Suddenly all the childhood stories she thought were only myths- like the Blackbird King, patron of thieves- are coming true, and the things she thought she would ne
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fantasy lovers, anyone who loves a love story
The only thing that kept my heart from breaking was my absolute and firm belief in a happy ending.

Slow to start, for me, we follow the adventures of Envy, a self professed charming and clever thief, on a most interesting challenge: to sleep with every lady of the King's court and steal one thing from each conquest.

Naturally, this goes awry and the subsequent tale will take Envy and her friend, Belinda, into the pages of myth and legend, and love above all.

The debut novel fro
Jadis LeFeu
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gaaaaaaaaay

It's a wonderful little fairy tale about queer girls in love, and I spent the latter half of it crying with happiness because it was a fairy tale about queer girls in love.

This book is everything. Buy it read it love it.
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One word: mesmerizing.
Imaginative and well-written fairy-tale romance with memorable characters and beautiful settings.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is always a fun little feel-good read. I enjoy my time with it each and every read through. It’s like a Grimm Fairy tale set in a Tim Burton-like world for adults. The writing is good. The story is well thought out and tasteful. The characters are relatable and you feel yourself rooting for them the whole way through. It’s actually probably somewhere in between 4 and 5 stars. I gave it 4 because in some places it felt too brief and quick, but certainly not enough to detract from the overall ...more
Jessica Malveaux
My new favorite!

I absolutely loved it! So beautifully written, and so sweet! I loved how that there was no stupid main characters, they all were witty and made mostly bold but reasonable moves. It was fun to read!
Katina Sprouse
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning imagery.

I very much enjoyed this story by Bridget Essex. The world she brings us is full of magic and beauty. Each character and setting and action is described so that the reader can see it clear as if it were right in front of them.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This latest book from this author is just enchanting. I felt like I was reading a fairy tale the whole time and I loved it. That this story takes place in the Land of the Lady Knights and yummy Virago is in it (albeit briefly) is simply icing on the cupcake.
Dhainee Pfafflin
Quick, sweet read!

I loved the characters and the lore! The pace was nice and steady, though a bit anticlimactic. But it's a great afternoon read that'll have you feeling butterflies and dreaming of your own magical lady!
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Purely an emotional 5 star rating for Envy & Merle’s true love 😭😭💜

charles clayson
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like her other books that I've read. This tale was vividly presented. Like my header states!😍. This is a fantastical tale !😍
Definitely a good read. 💖💗💘
Lynnae Inama
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved It

One of my favorite books by Bridget. A great fun fast read. Very creative and new. Give it a shot.
Heather Henkel
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cute story

This was a nice cross between a fairytale and a lesbian romance. I really enjoyed the fairytale aspects to the story.
Apr 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Was actually good (still pretty good though) until the rescue part which -I personally felt- was kinda flat.. nice but could've been much better. Kidnapped for ransom? C'mon.. we know it could've been much more advanced and complected, most of Bishop's work is.
On the other hand, the language was captivating and the descriptions are just charming, which is what makes Elora's writing style one of my favorites.
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2016, fairy-tales, f-f
Another really solid fairy tale; this time more of an original than a retelling. It actually manages to be a sort of retelling/"the real story" of an in-universe fairy tale, which was really charming.

There were a few points that I'd normally deem loose ends, but in the framing of a fairy tale, a genre where the plot points not immediately relevant to the ending are summarily ignored, I could very definitely let them slide.
Naomi Ruth
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, adult-fiction
What I Like: great moments, good characters, like how Bishop twists together fairy tales into something new.

What I Didn't Like: Although I keep reading books by Elora Bishop, and probably still will, the writing isn't as strong as I would like it to be, and it's a little too romantic for my taste. I felt like this book wrapped up too neatly. Life is messy, folks. The fact that everyone was super happy and it all ended super easy... A little frustrating.
Mar 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer, fantasy
This wasn't quite as good as the other work I've read from this author. I loved the main character and the world building, but this would have definitely benefited from a bit more editing. The narrative made some odd jumps here and there. I also felt like the main character somewhat lost their sassy personality when they fell in love. I would have loved them to keep making sardonic remarks even in the more mushy moments.
A short and sweet fairy tale fantasy. The itsy-bitsy smidgen of gore for the resurrection spell helps too. Curse, Magic, Love and Haglin's cats.. all enough for me to enjoy the story.

Envy and Merle are both endearing in their own ways. A story of faith, falling in love and how some things aren't what people believed them to be.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Cage the darlings is okay.. I didn't like the main character and the whole story felt very rushed and immature even for a young adult book.
It was short and interesting enough that I read the whole thing but there are better books out there of Bishops / Diemer which I would recommend above this one
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Elora Bishop is a queer author of magical lesbian love stories. You will often find her wearing soft skirts, curled up in a sunny window (much like a cat), Austen in hand, cup of tea (two cream, one sugar) nearby, always piping hot. She is bewitched by all beautiful things–but, most of all, by her beloved wife. She writes lesbian YA as Sarah Diemer.