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The Seventh Bride

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Rhea is an ordinary miller’s daughter, engaged to be married under suspicious circumstances to a man not of her choosing. He has unknown powers and a manor house full of mysterious women.

Rhea has a hedgehog.

It’s probably not going to be enough.

From T. Kingfisher, author of “Toad Words & Other Stories,” and “Nine Goblins” comes a retold fairy-tale of white roads, dark magic, and small mammals.

237 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 11, 2014

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About the author

T. Kingfisher

42 books6,391 followers
T. Kingfisher is the vaguely absurd pen-name of Ursula Vernon. In another life, she writes children's books and weird comics, and has won the Hugo, Sequoyah, and Ursa Major awards, as well as a half-dozen Junior Library Guild selections.

This is the name she uses when writing things for grown-ups.

When she is not writing, she is probably out in the garden, trying to make eye contact with butterflies.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,078 reviews
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,255 reviews8,650 followers
December 29, 2017
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads



Not a fairytale I was very familiar with, but I knew the basics: wealthy, lord(-like) guy marries a pretty, young thing and takes her home. He immediately has to leave (b/c reasons). She has freedom to explore the many rooms of her new residence, but she is expressly forbidden to enter ONE of them. Curiosity overwhelms her, and she finds a way into the room, where she discovers . . . the bodies of all his previous wives.


THE SEVENTH BRIDE is an interesting twist of the original, and it is as fantastical as it is clever.

I struggled a little bit in the beginning. I had just finished THE BLACK COMPANY (which is darrrrrrk), and this had the bubblegum sweetness of a middle grade story. The contrast by itself would have made it difficult to adjust, but I was also expecting a more mature story--it specifically says on the author's Goodreads page that T. Kingfisher is the persona she uses while writing for adults.


It's hard enough to stomach a fifteen-year-old girl marrying a man her father's age--I don't care that once upon a time it was perfectly acceptable, now it's illegal and disgusting--but when said fifteen-year-old girl acts even younger than her numerical age . . . Ugh.

Rhea had a showdown with a bullying, lunch-stealing swan that ended in excrement.

*flares nostrils*

But I stuck with it, and our girl showed surprising backbone and intelligence.

Beyond that, the retelling was delightful. The world was vibrant with color, which only served to make the goings-on more creeptastic. I'm not going to say more than that, b/c the more you're free to discover for yourself, the better.

THE SEVENTH BRIDE by T. Kingfisher is new spin on an old tale that makes it feel shiny and nearly brand new. Sandwich-stealing swans and hedgehog familiars keep things fun, even as the evil sorcerer makes you cringe, and, as always, hubris is a fatal flaw. I highly recommend this standalone to anyone who enjoys fairytales and their retellings.

Jessica Signature
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,878 reviews22.6k followers
September 27, 2021
Review first posted on www.FantasyLiterature.com:

One of the less well-known folk tales, Bluebeard, the tale of the aristocrat who has married several wives who have ominously disappeared, is dusted off and adapted by T. Kingfisher in The Seventh Bride, a middle grade/young adult fantasy. (Note: Kingfisher is a pen name for Ursula Vernon, the Nebula award-winning author of Jackalope Wives who I'm a fangirl of.) Rhea, a fifteen year old miller’s daughter, is unhappily and unwillingly engaged to Lord Crevan, a nobleman whom she doesn’t even know. Her parents urged her to accept Lord Crevan’s offer: their family is having trouble making ends meet and Lord Crevan is a friend of the local marquis. And you don’t turn down lords. But Rhea, who keenly feels her lack of any extraordinary beauty or talents, can’t help but feel he has some hidden, ulterior motive. She’s even more uneasy when she finally meets the suave but much older Crevan.
… she’d had a few daydreams about meeting a man who would kiss her hand, and it would be like a lightning bolt through both of them, and then he’d tell her that he was really a prince wandering the land in search of the maiden of his heart, and, now that he’d found her, he would sweep her off her feet and take her back to his castle, and she would never have to help dig an outhouse again.

Rhea’s imagination tended to get a little fuzzy after the bit where they got back to the castle, but the bit about the outhouses was very clear.

But this… this was nothing like those daydreams.
Lord Crevan actually tells Rhea that he is a sorcerer, but she is still unable to see any viable way out of their engagement. So when he instructs her to come to his house in three days, she goes, via a mysterious and somehow menacing bone-white road that has suddenly appeared north of town. When Rhea, at her wit’s end, stops to cry, a small, unusually intelligent hedgehog suddenly appears to comfort her. The hedgehog ― which doesn’t speak but does have an unexpected aptitude for communicating with gestures ― ends up accompanying Rhea to Lord Crevan’s manor.

And there Rhea meets Crevan’s wives: a silent woman with a terribly scarred throat, a woman with bandaged eyes, a fat woman who acts as their cook, and others. Something is terribly wrong in this household, and Rhea has only her wits and determination to see her through… and the helpful hedgehog.


Kingfisher’s writing is vivid and witty, with frequent humor and delightfully whimsical details that remind me of my favorite Robin McKinley fantasies, such as a battle with a bullying, lunch-stealing swan and the gremlins that sneak into the mill; they’re fascinated by the millworks but sometimes get caught in the gears:
If you ground one into flour on accident, the bread had a tendency to explode in the oven, or bleed when you cut into it, or turn into a flock of starlings that would tear around the cottage, shrieking, and then people came around and had words with the miller, and many of the words had only four letters and involved hand gestures.
The humor and writing style is appealing but occasionally too modern for a folk tale-like novel with a medieval setting. Kingfisher’s characters sometimes use current words or phrases like “okay” and “wait ― what?” that briefly pulled me out of my immersion in the story.

The Seventh Bride started out very strong. The tension builds well as Rhea navigates the treacherous challenges at Lord Crevan’s manor and discovers why he has chosen her as his latest bride. Rhea is a believable and appealing young heroine, extraordinary only for her courage and determination. She is described as having coppery skin and black hair, which suggests some unusual and welcome diversity for this type of novel.

The climactic scenes were a bit underwhelming for me and the book’s grip on my attention faded somewhat toward the end. But overall The Seventh Bride is a very enjoyable read that tapped into my love of folk and fairy tale retellings. It’s refreshing that this is purely an adventure, with no romance. I recommend this particularly for readers who like young adult fairy tale novelizations.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,560 reviews5,818 followers
December 2, 2015
Rhea is the fifteen year old daughter of the town miller. She is a feisty young thing. Taking out evil swans when they eat her lunch and keeping the gremlins out of the flour. Those Gremlins cause some problems when bits and pieces of them end up in the flour.
Palm Springs commercial photography

She is happy and has pretty decent parents so she is disappointed when she finds out that she has been spoken for by a nobleman. Peasants pretty much can't tell a noble no so she knows she is pretty much stuck with the guy.
Palm Springs commercial photography

Marriage was like death. You knew it'd happen eventually, but it wasn't something to dwell on.

Of course Rhea lets her mind wander....he would sweep her off her feet and take her back to his castle, and she would never have to help dig an outhouse again.

Lots of choices in those days.

Rhea finds out his lordship has a touch of magic to him after the engagement. She still is not too sure about the marriage though.
So much for prayer, then. What was the point if the saints wouldn't kick someone off a horse when you asked them nicely?
Palm Springs commercial photography

Then the second part of the book starts. I LOVED the first part, then the second was just okay. So I'm factoring five stars for the first half and two for the last.

I don't want to give the story away though, so I'll just say the story heads this way.
Palm Springs commercial photography

I do end up recommending this cute little book. It has a great main character and there is no insta-lurving that is popular with young adult books now. You will be begging for a hedgehog though. I'm putting one of my Santa list. Because I've been good.
Palm Springs commercial photography

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.

Palm Springs commercial photography

Carole's review of this fun book completely sold me on it. She always picks some great books so when I see her like one I pay attention.
Profile Image for Riley.
422 reviews20.5k followers
November 27, 2022
"Suppose you had something that you did not need." Like a husband? she thought. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Profile Image for carol..
1,504 reviews7,568 followers
May 8, 2019
T. Kingfisher stories have a kind of magic for me. They seem to be exactly what I need to read at that point in time.

The Seventh Bride is the tale of a fifteen-year-old girl who gets betrothed to a noble, much to her dismay. When she is finally required to go to his house, she meets three other women who are somewhat reluctant to share their stories. It doesn't take long before the girl makes up her mind that this is not a place she wants to stay.

Mind you; this isn't entirely a feminist tale. Or maybe it is, in the sense that it respects the range of female experiences and coping skills, particularly in the area of male-female relationships. At any rate, though it is ostensibly about Bluebeard, it's really mostly about the women. It'd be a fascinating book to discuss in context of the Bechdel test, honestly. 

But it's also about one young woman facing her fears, even if the reasons change each time she does so (nostalgia/longing, fear, anger, desperation). And that is a message I need to hear. Good stuff, but not immediately re-readable, unlike The Tomato Thief, which I immediately re-read after finishing. 
Profile Image for Lois Bujold.
Author 154 books37.5k followers
April 10, 2018
Being a retelling of Bluebeard, much more horror, much less romance this time around, if just as well written and inventive. The latter is my jam but the former is not, which is why this ended up last in my binge read, in the spirit of complete-ism or maybe scraping out the peanut butter jar. Now I believe I must wait for her to write more, if she is so moved.

(No, wait, haven't read Jackalope Wives yet. So I do have something saved for a rainy day, good.)

Ta, L.
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,232 reviews997 followers
December 2, 2015
I initially passed this book up on NetGalley when I saw it. The cover with the girl standing in front of the clock just didn't appeal to me. (I mean, yes, that scene does happen in the book, so I can't complain - but it didn't call out to me.) However, after reading several glowing reviews of the book, and seeing THIS cover (with the bird skull) - which is a work of beauty on its own - I had to go back and grab it.

And boy am I glad that I did! This book is GREAT!

It's an original fairytale, in the best tradition. It has elements of 'Mr. Fox' (http://www.authorama.com/english-fair...), 'The Robber Bridegroom' and 'Bluebeard' - as well as other old tales - but it's very much its own thing.

Our heroine, Rhea, is a wonderful mix of wise and wisecracking. She's tough and capable, but as a miller's daughter, she knows that she has no recourse when a Lord informs her family that he intends on marrying her. Lord Crevan, though somewhat enigmatic, is known to be a friend of her town's leader, and things could go very poorly indeed for both her and her family if she doesn't acquiesce. So when Crevan summons her to come alone to his manor, at night, although she knows it's 'not right' - she goes.

When she arrives, Lord Crevan is not in residence - but there are other women there. She learns that she is not the first woman to be selected by Crevan - indeed, she is to be his seventh bride. Even this polygamy might be something Rhea would accept, for the sake of her family - but Crevan is also a sorcerer, and his schemes involving dark magic may involve worse fates than servitude - indeed, worse fates than death.

Beautiful, eerie, humorous and entertaining - I was wholly won over by the story.

Many thanks to Amazon and NetGalley for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinion is solely my own.
November 17, 2018

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Bluebeard's Castle is one of my favorite fairy tales because it's so dark, and has so many possibilities when it comes to retellings. When I saw THE SEVENTH BRIDE pop up for sale on Kindle, I snagged it the instant I recognized it for what it was without even reading the reviews for it. That's a big risk, I know, and sometimes it comes back to bite me in the rear, but in this particular instance, THE SEVENTH BRIDE was totally worth it.

THE SEVENTH BRIDE is about a girl named Rhea, named for a goddess and possessing the strength of one. She is a miller's daughter and helps her family harvest wheat to mill for bread. One day, Lord Crevan shows up to their house to propose marriage, which she is immediately suspicious of, but her family basically gaslights her into accepting his suit. And when he demands that she come to his home at nightfall, prior to their marriage, alone? Yeah, they force her to do that too, even though they know that his intentions can't possibly be good.

And they aren't, naturally.

Oh my God, this was so good, and I recommend it to fans of Diana Wynne Jones, Rosamund Hodge, or Charlie N. Holmberg. It's one of those young adult books that manages to be deliciously dark without crossing the line of what the matronly no-fun-a-lot puritans consider "proper." You see, when Rhea goes to his house (after following a mysterious white path, befriending a small hedgehog companion, and encountering a number of monstrous creatures), she finds out that her husband-to-be already has a wife. In fact, he has several wives, all of them grievously marred in some way. Lord Crevan is an evil sorcerer who takes something from each of his brides. And if Rhea doesn't manage to complete his tasks and solve the mystery of the house, he will take something from her, too.

I can't get over how good this was. Strong female protagonist, adorable hedgehog companion, female friendships in the face of adversity, NO ROMANCE, creative story, dark atmosphere, and oh yes, a retelling of my favorite fairy tale. Could I put this book down? No. I enjoyed every moment of this story and I especially recommend it to people who liked CRUEL BEAUTY but wished it didn't have the romance. It's an odd duck of a tale, with the quirky morbidity of Tim Burton, and I adored it.

4.5 stars
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mara YA Mood Reader.
332 reviews262 followers
December 8, 2019
DNF around 40%. I listened to this on audible. It was my first time with an audio book and I’m definitely not going to pursue anymore. I found that I just do not like other reading styles than the own voice in my head. And I did not at all enjoy the reader’s voice and style on the audible version.

The person reading the story made the main character, who is 15 and being married off, sound like a whiny little 12 year old girl. So it changed my perception of the entire story. Everything came out so immature which made the context of the engagement feel gross and weird, more so than usual.

But it wasn’t just the reader’s annoying voice that turned me off. The story itself felt like a middle-grade and not young adult. I actually had to double check.

As well, there is soooooooo much tell and not much show. It bored me. And I became quickly annoyed how literally everything the main character saw or did outside of her life at the Mill, she compared to the mill. Like sounds. And smells. And how things moved. (IE: There was a sound. A loud sound. A loud grinding sound. Like when the gears get stuck on the mill and I have to blah blah blah blah....). Oh god please stop! I get it! The bleeding mill this and the bleeding mill that.

The main character, Rhea. Ugh. She’s 15 but acts like she’s twelve. And just really freaking dumb and annoying. I haaaaaaated being in her dull head. There’s crazy magic going on all around her and she’s just like, I don’t know why the floor is falling away like puzzle pieces and then falls back into place...could be magic but...I’m just such a pointless airhead I don’t get it.

I changed the reading speed to 1.75 just to try to get somewhere, some part of the book that might just SLIGHTLY interest me. But at the speed it became comical and I decided to try reading the kindle version I had, but no. It wasn’t just the audio reader’s fault.

It was the book.

I. Just. Plain. Could. Not. Stand. It.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,637 reviews449 followers
November 23, 2015
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life

I ended up enjoying this book a lot. It had so much going for it and I loved the fairy tale quality that I found throughout the novel. I will admit that I was first drawn to this book simply because of the cover. Isn't the cover artwork great? After reading the description, I decided to go ahead and give this one a try and ended up being completely captivated by the story. As good as the cover artwork is, the story is even better.

I have heard from others that this book is based on Bluebeard. I have to admit that I have never heard of Bluebeard and don't know that story at all (I know - I lead a sheltered life) so I will just have to take their word for it. I went into this book with no expectations other than the desire to be entertained and this book was incredibly entertaining. It really grabbed my attention early on and the more I read the more I was hooked.

This is the story of Rhea who is the miller's daughter. She is only 15 years old but Lord Craven wants her as his bride. Rhea and her family aren't really sure why Lord Craven wants to marry Rhea but peasants don't say no to people like Lord Craven so they don't ask a lot of questions. When he gives her directions to his home and tells her when to come, she follows his directions as expected. She meets a helpful hedgehog along the way to his home that I immediately fell in love with. Once she arrives, Rhea is shocked to learn that Lord Craven already has other wives at his home and he is simply wanting to add her to his collection.

This story had a magical quality to it. A hedgehog that communicates through gestures, bird golems, a floor that tends to fall at different times, and a strange cast of characters successful came together to make a rather delightful story. I really had no idea where this book would take me at any given time but I was always entertained during the journey. The tasks that Rhea must complete were interesting and really helped to show what Lord Craven was capable of doing.

I liked Rhea a lot. She questions everything going on as much as she can and her internal dialog really added to the story. She accepts her fate but still makes an effort to change it if she can. Rhea knows who she is and when she is asked to do something that she feels is wrong, she quickly decides that some orders are not worth following regardless of the cost. The other wives were all very interesting and somewhat likable but I was never quite sure who Rhea should really trust. I felt as unsure about everything going on as Rhea did throughout most of the book.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting fantasy read. This book should appeal to a wide audience including teens and adults. This is the first book by T. Kingfisher that I have read but I will be taking a look at her other works very soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Amazon Publishing - 47 North via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Initial Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book and it has convinced me that I need a hedgehog.

Profile Image for Melki.
5,583 reviews2,310 followers
August 29, 2021
. . . he would sweep her off her feet and take her back to his castle, and she would never have to help dig an outhouse again.

Well, that's one of the better reasons I've heard for tying the knot, though in truth it usually means that the new bride now has to help dig her in-law's outhouse.

Poor Rhea, a 15-year-old miller's daughter, would have been better off digging a shitter. She's been picked by a much older, Snidley Whiplash-type character to be his bride . . . one of a passel of brides, it turns out. The old creep marries chosen women, steals what makes them special, then lets them hang around his mansion . . . out of the goodness of his heart to toy with them further, I guess.

Can Rhea and her sister-wives turn the tables on the festering coot before he turns Rhea into a shell of her former self?

That's for me to know, and you to find out when you read this enjoyable and imaginative, fractured fairy tale by one of my new favorite authors.
Profile Image for Fiona.
1,189 reviews216 followers
July 12, 2022
Be bold, be bold, but not too bold...

When a millers daughter finds her hand requested by a lord, even if she's 15 and not yet thinking about marriage, there's not really the option to say no. Even when he seems just a little off, even when he requests you visit the manor house no-one in the village seems to have heard of in the middle of the night...

Luckily for Rhea, she has excellent coping skills, and the friendship of the best hedgehog a girl could ask for.

Surprise, it's a T. Kingfisher novel that I loved! Always subverting expectations :) But she's just so good at putting her own spin on fairytales, weaving horror into them in a way that accentuates their original cautionary elements. They still take place in a magically medieval-ish setting, but they feel timelessly relevant; the "Bluebeard" here is a perfect example of how to listen to your instincts when everyone around you doesn't seem to get those off feelings about someone.

The usual amazing elements of her work are here too; a number of female characters who bring different skills to the table, some of whom aren't quite whole anymore but are never portrayed as lesser because of it. Magic is a natural part of the world, which also makes it exploitable. And the threats are very real; there's a very comforting feeling to big parts of this novel, but the danger is not possible to overlook.

In short, another really excellent book from this author. Easily one of my favourites, but then I say that each time I read a new one.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,575 reviews1,463 followers
September 8, 2021
Sale Alert: Kindle Daily Deal 8Sep21 $2.99

“It is somehow easier to face things when one is not alone. Courage still does most of the heavy lifting, but Pride gets its shoulder in there, too, just to keep you from embarrassing yourself in front of the other person...or hedgehog, as the case may be.”

I can’t say that I’ve ever really read the original Blue Beard tale so I don’t know how closely The Seventh Bride compares, but I do assume that the original didn’t have a hedgehog companion, a wife turned into a golem or a semi magic house that sometimes dropped a floor out from under you.

Rhea is the Miller’s daughter. She is a hard worker and spends most of her time making sure the grinder spins and no mice or gremlins get into the machinery when she isn’t fighting with the local swan. She didn’t expect to catch a Duke’s eye and she has no idea why he would want to marry her. She is so young still at only fourteen. But you don’t say no to Dukes and so Rhea travels down a magic road to a house that shouldn’t be there to her fate. At least she found a very smart hedgehog along the way to keep her company.

This is a very interesting story and retelling. For one most of the wives are alive and trapped in the house with Rhea. One in particular is nice enough to help Rhea with her new predicament. The world is full of magic and there is even a wife that wasn’t wholly human.

The Duke keeps setting challenges for Rhea with the caveat, if she fails this test, he will marry her. I really liked Rhea. She is smart, kind and just stubborn enough. She has a lot of courage and is taking most of this in stride. Even though she is having a tough time with some of the cruelty of this place she is determined to find a way to save not only herself but the other women trapped there as well.

Kingfisher, has again delivered with another interesting and well written story. I’m really enjoying making my way through her catalogue. Each story is unique and full of crazy imaginings that really capture my imagination.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,378 reviews1,051 followers
January 21, 2018
“I’m suggesting that if you’re going to bring hell down upon someone’s head, you should dress for the occasion.”

First, Cover Love.

The concept is an intriguing take on Bluebeard and his wives trope. A beautiful woman (15 yr old girl in this case) forced into marriage gets to see the horrors that await her when she explores his home, meets surviving wives and discovers some of them are dead. Sign me up for a unique story such as that – unfortunately, despite the allure drawing me, I struggled maintaining consistent interest.

There’s almost a YA feel since the protagonist is pretty young. Nothing risqué at all so this would be equally suitable for a YA novel. There were weird scenes such as Rhea fighting swans for her lunch (really, just odd), but there were clever and cool scenes like the riddles and the creepy statues. I loved the Hedgehog companion, the creepy ambience of hidden and betraying trails, and the gothic vibe of the house and how the women starting working together.

The wives are fascinating. You have a devoted and religious zealot whose scarred throat silences her, a woman who has adopted the mothering role, a beautiful and naïve woman with bandaged eyes that don’t hide her hope. Then there’s the strange clock thing, and the strange statue thing. Interesting and imaginative stuff.

The premise is strong, the writing done well, the characters haunting and suitable for the story type – but there feels like there is a lack of intensity when it comes to the parts that are supposed to be suspenseful or dramatic. The ending is satisfying but not thrilling, as is the case with a lot of the action scenes in The Seventh Bride.

The story is a direct retelling of a fairy tale and doesn’t deviate from that part to take in parts of other genres (no romance element anyway, for example), but it does throw in some humor at odd times. Humor felt a little modern age and not wholly historical, but not a big deal.

“She was still going somewhere terrible, but she had a hedgehog, dammit.”

Sometimes I did get confused with the quirkiness and time and clocks, but my mind is weird so I’m not holding that against the story, but it did sink my interest some.

Despite my interest fading out some by the end, it was still a unique book with some dark tones blending with YA Fantasy and Fairy Tale Retelling.

And Last – Cover Love!
Profile Image for Eilonwy.
814 reviews201 followers
February 18, 2016

I loved this! It was a little more frightening than I expected, but it was more sad horror than really gruesome, and Rhea's pragmatic outlook made up for the scariness. Still, I'm glad I didn't read this when I was a kid or a teen -- I wouldn't have slept for weeks. As an adult, it bothered me less, and the humorous touches went a long way in making the story bearable.

Romance-haters, this is the book for you! There's not a bit of romance anywhere in the whole story.

Real review to come tomorrow.
Profile Image for Kristie.
819 reviews354 followers
November 12, 2015
This was a surprisingly good little book. I received this as a 'Read Now' through NetGalley. I have to admit that I hesitating before clicking on it. I thought it was going to be too young or too fantasy (I know that sounds weird, but sometimes things get too fantastical and they lose me). For some reason, I kept coming back to it and figured, it's less than 200 pages, I might as well give it a go. I'm so glad I did.

This is the story of a fifteen year old miller's daughter that is proposed to by a lord. She cannot figure out why he would want to marry her. She is young, average looking, and not of his status. Oh, and she has never met him... I don't want to say too much as to not give away the story, but she ends up with a hedgehog and he is awesome.

Rhea is a great character. There are several other character's in the book. Some of them you have figured out from the start and some of them make you question their motives.

I really liked where this story went. It is YA and some parts are predictable, but it kept me engaged. 4.5✮

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for JasonA.
275 reviews47 followers
August 8, 2022
I can always count on T. Kingfisher to get me out of a reading slump. After reading several books of hers, I still haven't come across one I thought was bad. Even the ones I've called three stars were really only three stars when compared to her five star books. To be fair, I probably need to revisit those, finish out the clockwork boys universe books and see if I need to up the stars.

T. Kingfisher books seems to fall into three categories: horror, fantasy set in the clockwork boys universe, and general fantasy. I'm not the biggest fan of the clockwork boys universe, but love her horror and fantasy books. The Seventh Bride falls into the general fantasy category, so knew it was a pretty safe bet that I was going to enjoy it.

If you're familiar with Kingfisher, then this book falls in line with what you'd expect: likeable characters set into a fun story full of charm. This one is a little lighter on the humor than some of her other books, but that doesn't take anything away from the story. If anything, I'm disappointed that it ended when it did. This tale was done, but like most of Kingfisher's books, I'd love to see a sequel somewhere in the future because I'm not ready to say goodbye to the characters.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 57 books7,651 followers
August 29, 2017
A rather lovely, rather odd fairytale, taking a sort of Bluebeard/Mr Fox set up and turning it into a fantastic feminist fantasy excursion, as the sorceror's wives rally round his newest target. Rhea is 15 and no victim, with a lovely narrative voice and a hedgehog familiar. Lightly written over some rather dark and occasionally horrific matter, very fluent, highly readable, a very enjoyable diversion.
Profile Image for Susana.
985 reviews240 followers
December 5, 2015

Another day, another retelling. This one vaguely based on the Bluebeard tale...
It has a miller's daughter as the main character and a resourceful hedgehog as the cute sidekick.

Thing is, despite my attempt at lightness, this story couldn't be further away from it.

The writing may feel a little too plain at times _ for which reason I took a star from the final rating _ and the character may feel a little too young, but once again _ read my review of Bryony and Roses _ I feel that this book should be directed at an older crowd.

There's scenes in this that could make it a home in a horror tale.

However despite praising the story's worth, I just couldn't connect with the characters.

Yes, at first glance everything seems to be there: the main characters are a group of very different women. Yes, they form a friendship of a kind to escape their captor, but, I don't know... I guess they felt very one dimensional.

The focus of the tale, it is on the story, and as such, I was left feeling as if any character could represent the roles that needed to be played.

The characters are not that memorable.

On the positive side, I liked how there wasn't any stupid new adult vibe of "oh, let's try to romanticize to bastard who has all of us captives".


Unfortunately it bears saying, since there appears to be a current trend to brainwash girls/woman's brains into seeing abusive jackasses as romantic types.

Bottom line, it was a good story, but if I had to chose between this one and T. Kingfisher's other book that I've recently read, I would still go with "Bryony and Roses".
Profile Image for Allison Hurd.
Author 3 books676 followers
May 15, 2022
I mean, classic Kingfisher retelling.


Things to love:

-The wives. I loved that they all had personality and, to an extent, agency.

-The world. Oodles of magic, creepy and whimsical.

-The Girl Power. I just love it when girls come together and fight the patriarchy!

-The retelling. Lots of stories tackle things like Blue Beard's Bride scenarios, and this was delightfully decadent.

-Funny. Several times I laughed out loud, particularly in the beginning!

-True horror. I talk a lot about the difference between masculine and feminine horror (in the sense of lenses and moods, rather than protagonists or gender). In masculine horror, someone is coming for you or your loved ones/possessions, the power dynamic being strong against supernatural or stronger. In feminine horror, you have lost your voice and are seemingly at the mercy of someone who wishes you ill the power balance being strong against perceived weakness. This is a very empowering look at feminine horror, and way better than the actual horror book by this author I've read.

-Classic Ursula. We've got heart and animal companions for days. I just love it.

What didn't I love?

It felt a bit pat, if I'm honest. I never felt the danger. But that's okay, because the world was plenty creepy and I didn't want rapey-er content. It was just not entirely successful in selling itself as a rebrand of classic feminine horror a la the Grimm brothers.

Still worth every minute of time spent on it.
Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews223 followers
September 28, 2016
Part fairy tale part fantasy this book grew on me as it went along. I'd highly recommend it for parents looking for a good read for their teens as I often am. It is a little dark for a YA title but there's nothing macabre or sexual.

Profile Image for Pooja Peravali.
Author 1 book50 followers
September 16, 2022
When Rhea is proposed to by a nobleman, she can’t refuse him, because commoners don’t say no to lords. But Lord Crevan is a sorcerer who has been married six times before, and stripped something from each of them – and now he wants to take from Rhea.

I like fairytale novels, but not always fairytale retellings, so The Seventh Bride managed to hit that particular spot in spectacular fashion. Though the story is clearly inspired by Bluebeard, it goes in its own wonderfully weird direction.

I loved the way that the dreamlike strangeness of the story was wedded with Rhea’s intensely practical nature. There are worlds of difference between how Lord Crevan and his wives see the world, which is why the scene at the well in particular almost cracked me up. Magic in this world is both a high and low thing, and I liked seeing the many ways it was present in the book. And I loved the hedgehog.

I did wish we were able to explore some characters like Maria and Ingeth more deeply, though – I am a little confused still about what drove Ingeth in particular. I also wished there was more of a denouement to the book, but this may be because I enjoyed the story so much I wished it hadn’t ended so quickly!

Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,003 followers
December 14, 2015
I actually bought this initially, but the Netgalley page said something about it being an updated version, so I went for it. I originally picked it up for the promise of a heroic little hedgehog, and I was very happy with that aspect — the hedgehog is brave, helpful, clever, and funny. It can’t speak, so it communicates with the protagonist via miming and yes/no answers. It sounded so cute. I want one!

The story itself, aside from the hedgehogs, is a nice reimagining of a Bluebeard fairytale — but darker, really, because instead of death, the antagonist steals things of worth from the women he marries — their voices, their eyes, their ability to die — and leaves them alive. I found the tone somewhat at odds with the perceived historical/mythological time it was set in; the protagonist was too modern in thought and sensibility in some ways, it seemed. But overall, I found it very enjoyable, and I loved the way it treated the other characters. The other wives, for example, are each different, some very strange, and each of them copes with what has happened to them in a different way. As people do.

And, just to reiterate: hedgehog!

Originally posted here.
Profile Image for spring ~♡.
377 reviews440 followers
June 26, 2021
Five delightful, spooky, dark, murderous, twisted star.
This book has been a gothic but fun adventure. I always have had a soft spot for fairytales. *cough* who doesn’t? *cough*

Bonus point if it's dark with a spooky castle, an intelligent but *so lost* protagonist, murderous wives, revenge, puzzles and lots of magic in it. Well this book has it all. And for me, it was perfect.

The protagonist was childish at first, but eventually she grew some bones also some sense of humor.

He smiled. “Suppose that you had something that you did not need, Miss Rhea.”
Like a husband? she thought grimly.

I likes how fast paced it was, and how something was continuously happening to keep me on edge. I just wished there was more secrets in the manor I guess? Cause it’s always fun to read about gothic twisted Castle not me still thinking about Cruel Beauty but never mind.

I’m suggesting that if you’re going to bring hell down upon someone’s head, you should dress for the occasion.

See? Why can't we have more books with dialogues like this? *sobs*
Profile Image for Kira Simion.
819 reviews126 followers
June 6, 2017
A magic hedgehog? That's new...
A retelling of Bluebeard? Yay to both!


•The magical hedgehog! I swear the moment the main character met the hedgehog, I felt like this retelling also included a little of Alice in Wonderland.

•Magic. The interesting ways that magic held a place in this story was intriguing.


•When the main character is told she has to marry a noble, her reaction is understandable, her relatives' are not. They let her go walk a path that could be dangerous alone to a guy who is twice, if not more, her age. They don't offer to walk with her or anything. That rubbed me the wrong way because it seemed a little unrealistic. If they want her to marry a noble, wouldn't they want her to get to his house in one piece in the first place?

•While I could tell which character was which, they never seemed very/ or fully fleshed out to me.

I enjoyed reading this book overall though. It was interesting all the way though.
Profile Image for Emily.
687 reviews1,994 followers
February 9, 2017
I LOVED this. I remember finding it on a Goodreads friend's list while wandering around, and I was surprised by how many reviews it had from top reviewers. I am happy to confirm that all of those good reviews are well-deserved: this is a funny but wholly creepy fairy tale reimagining that I devoured in less than a day, and it deserves more readers than it has. The good news is that T. Kingfisher (great pen name by the way) has several more of these. I am going to eat them all up.

The fairy tale retold here is Bluebeard, though there's a creepier twist to the story. Instead of simply taking his wives' lives (so banal), Lord Crevan takes a unique attribute from each wife and leaves them alive--but trapped on his estate. Rhea is the seventh wife, brought to Crevan's estate against her will and trapped there as he gives her tasks to complete. The real success of the story is how Kingfisher is able to juxtapose quotes like this one:

She could afford to be annoyed by this, because she was very nearly sure that Lord Crevan would not kill her before he married her. He seemed very interested in marriage.

with wholly terrifying descriptions of what has happened to some of the wives, the creepiest being . I also thoroughly enjoyed the clock-wife. , and then you're on the edge of your seat for the rest of the book.

Anyway, this is a highly original retelling - and I've read a lot of retellings - with a sharp narrative voice. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre.
Profile Image for Hirondelle.
827 reviews179 followers
September 27, 2022
T. Kingfisher does Bluebeard (kind of...) meets Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching. And T. Kingfisher is very good at fairy tales done differently and at Pratchett-like writing.

Kind of, or, not really, wild exaggeration from my part but that was what came to my mind. It is clearly based on some Bluebeard or Mr. Fox stories, it is a fairy tale, and there is something very Pratchett-esque in the writing here - and that is a good thing, by my books. Rhea is a delight, a prosaic teenager ending up in trouble she in no way caused.

Rating this is hard, Rhea´s PoV and the hedgehog are all 5 stars but I never really emotionally connected to the story. It is stupid to complain a fairy tale retelling feels fairy tale, but that is my problem, there is this capriciousness to the opponent´s actions, random-ness to whichever acts of magic are pulled. It also feels a bit like a computer game script. So never quite clicked for me, much as I loved Rhea's PoV. (And am I allowed to complain as usual it was too long? At scarce 55 k words, it should not be too long for a novel, but I am not sure there was enough plot for a novel)
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