Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Thorn” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.21  ·  Rating details ·  368 ratings  ·  71 reviews
On a cold day deep in the heart of winter, Rowan’s father returns from an ill-fated hunting trip bearing a single, white rose. The rose is followed by the Huntress, a figure out of legend. Tall, cruel, and achingly beautiful, she brings Rowan back with her to a mountain fastness populated solely by the creatures of the hunt. Rowan, who once scorned the villagers for their ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Bywater Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Thorn, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Thorn

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  368 ratings  ·  71 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Thorn
Lex Kent
4.25 Stars. Now that the holidays have calmed down some I can finally get back to reading. I’m still working on reading some books that were published in ‘19 before the year is over. I decided to read my first Anna Burke book. Since I will be reading her new book next month, a Sapphic Robin Hood (I mean how awesome is that, I can’t wait!) so I decided to read Thorn now to get a feel for her writing style. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed this.

I’m a big fan of fairytale retellings, so a
Diane Wallace
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
'ARC generously provided by Bywater Books in exchanged for a fair review'

**'Good fiction is always about what's going wrong..Heroes and heroines are boring and forgettable but villains are much more interesting..'

If readers are looking for something with a utopian flavor to it but is nicely fused with both fantasy and fairy tale culture of witches,bears,wolves,mountain men etc.,'THORN' might just fit the bill because its also raw,propulsive and unfailingly profound. The premise hinges
I always have misgivings about the retelling of fairy tales (especially ones with Disney movies) but Thorn had enough difference and divergence that I could enjoy it for it's own merits without seeing Belle bopping around in her pretty yellow dress or hearing Angela Lansbury singing in my head. Three sisters anxiously await their father's return from a winter hunting trip but he's been gone longer than he said he would. Rowan, the eldest daughter, is to be married off to Avery Lockland who is ...more
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not a fan of fairy tales but surprisingly I liked this one. It is retelling of Beauty and the beast and author did a great job.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love winter.

Rowan's father goes on a hunting trip and is away longer than expected. Meanwhile his daughters keep up the small cottage while they await his return. He has actually gotten himself into some trouble with a huntress who is quite upset that he and his traveling companions have been hunting her lands for pelts. She decides to let him go because otherwise death would be mercy. Later, the huntress realizes that he stole a rose. She goes to the cottage to make him pay. She kidnaps
To be honest I was fully prepared to not like this book since Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and I was worried about the story getting butchered. Turns out all my worrying was for nothing because Anna Burke took the movie's concept and completely made it her own. In fact I think I actually prefer her version of why the Huntress got cursed in the first place. It just made so much more sense!

If you're a fan of Beauty and the Beast but looking for something a little darker that
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Princess Princess Ever After graphic novel, I needed another fairy tale and thanks to Natalie Imbruglia, I picked this one up. My first by Anna Burke, and Compass Rose will be read sooner or later.. According to Carrie, I will love one of the characters.

Torn, yes, a retelling of The Beauty and The Beast with strong women, wlw romance, a not so repulsive Gaston but the cutlery, cookwares and household items were missing so if you're looking forward to that then open up the
Gaby LezReviewBooks
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rowan is the daughter of a merchant who unknowingly gives her a cursed rose taken during an ill-fated hunting trip. The rose was in a land of eternal winter inhabited by a mysterious woman called the Huntress. Furious at the merchant for killing her wolves and stealing her rose, the Huntress irrupts into the merchant's house and takes the rose back along with Rowan. Trapped in the Huntress's realm of eternal winter and curse, Rowan will have to choose between her family loyalties and her growing ...more
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been dying for a lesbian fairytale retelling that feels like a fairytale. And, holy hell, does Anna Burke ever deliver with Thorn.

There are a lot of contemporary fairy tale retellings, many of which are excellent. Thorn, however, takes the core of the Beauty and the Beast story and reinterprets it in a way that maintains some of the spirit of the original story while presenting something entirely new.

Full review:
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A loose retelling of the Beauty and the Beast. Although it should be The Brave and the Beast. Beauty - thankfully- isn’t important here at all. And it is in fact the Beast who is beautiful.

Beauty and the Beast as a fairy tale has a number of problems that have been written about many times. But it is also a story that ticks some of my most beloved tropes: slow burn romance, enemies to lovers, redemption through love, and in many of the retellings: throwing off the shackles of patriarchy. Yay!

Velvet Lounger
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, fairy-tale
“Thorn” is a lesbian feminist fairy-tale with a vengeance, highlighting the power and vulnerability of women, the expectations of society and the literal battles, both emotional and physical, that women fight to be themselves.

In true fairy-tale style, the evil ice queen rides a bear, leads a pack of wolves and exacts an awful revenge on anyone who dares enter her lands to take what is hers. Yet under the frightful cold exterior is a woman trapped by her own arrogant narcissism into one too many
•°• gabs •°•
this was SO beautifully written i have tears in my eyes ohmygod.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This was bloody brilliant! I love how the Huntress is surrounded by a pack of wolves ‘cause I love wolves. Rowan is as smart as Belle, fearless and strong. The fact she was always different and falls in love with a woman is the brilliance in this Beauty and the Beast retelling.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Add this to your snow day reading lists! A retelling of Beauty and the Beast where Rowan is traded to the Huntress for her father's life. Wolves, winter, and maybe a love story....
Diana Green
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I would love to read more high quality queer fairy tales and mythological stories, so I approached Thorn with considerable enthusiasm. From the beginning it was clear this novel would honor the tone and themes of the original Beauty and Beast, while adding a much needed layer of feminism.

The basic plot of Beauty and the Beast has always contained tricky elements...a captive coming to love their captor can easily veer off into Stockholm Syndrome territory. I felt the author of Thorn handled this
Paradise Lost
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: f-f
Beautifully written. Great retelling. I felt as though I were in an actual fairytale
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. I can’t write a coherent review telling you why, it’s beautiful and enchanting and complete. Read F. review if you’re looking for a reason to read this.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
- atmospheric, charming, alluring?
- retellings (beauty and the beast in this case) really are made better with sapphics
c, (½ of readsrainbow)
"You," she said, as if she had only just realized who I was. "Rowan." Her eyes dropped to the dress, then back to my face. "Rowan," she said again, like it was the only word she knew.

On Reads Rainbow

Rep: wlw mcs

Review copy provided by publisher

Sometimes, you finish a book, and you're just sat there basking in the afterglow, and then realise you need to review it but have no words to actually describe your feelings about it. I mean, fair enough, this is me alot of the time, I'll grant you.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs
Me first book commentary of 2019! Whaa?! Honestly, never thought I'd be able to finish today but me fingers just kept on flapping on the keyboard until it was done! This book just has to be read by everyone, imho! And what an amazing surprise it was for me indeed because.... Ok, let's back up a little...

A holiday gift surprise fell onto me lap whilst I was on holiday, courtesy of the very kind and generous Salem West of Bywater Books (Ta, mate! )! Yes, it was in the form of a book (me fav form!
After reading an anthology of queer fairy tales that left me not overly impressed this book was a welcome discovery. A reimagining of beauty and the beast that was creative but still true to the underlying tale. For some reason the beauty and beast story is a favourite to retell in lesfic but Burke elevates it beautifully with her distinct style.
Emily (moonlight&moths)
"Every seafaring culture had stories about dangerously beautiful women, and in each the lesson as clear: beauty killed you.
What stories, I wondered, did they tell about the Huntress?"

I am such a sucker for beauty and the beast retellings and Thorn is one of the best I've read by far. Not only is it a FANTASTIC retelling but it also features a lesbian couple as its main romance. Honestly I am such a sucker for the strong silent type and the Huntress makes a compelling beast character. The
I think I'm going to sound like the biggest fangirl ever but I just can't help myself because this author took one of my favorite childhood stories and she turned it into literary wonderland! If it were only possible for me to go through my kindle to join Rowan and the Huntress I would have done so in a heartbeat because I fell in love with the vivid descriptions of the frigid mountains the Huntress ruled. I also fell in love with Rowan's big heart because she loves her family deeply and she ...more
There is something distinctly odd about a lesbian retelling of a fairytale where the lesbian character is punished for rejecting/being careless with the emotions of a male suitor, and where that is never examined as being messed up.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very enjoyable twist on the beauty and the beast tale.

Having already loved Compass Rose, I was excited for Anna Burke's next book, and she does not disappoint. This was a very well-written, almost poetic read befitting the fairy tale nature of the inspiring story.

This is a rather slow burn, very enjoyable so, between the Huntress, a strong, stoic warrior woman who hunts with a pack of wolves, and Rowan, daughter of a formerly rich merchant, whose father accidentally commits a crime against
The world needs more gay fairytale retellings like this one.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating and entertaining reflection on Beauty and the Beast

Massachusetts author Anna Burke earned her degrees in English Literature and Studio Art from Smith College and now is working toward her MFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College. Her debut novel was the successful COMPASS ROSE, and now THORN continues to reinforce her stature as an important new author.

Not only is Anna Burke in possession of a fine gift for writing in general, but also add to that her sensitivity to writing
Elna Holst
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thorn is a lyrical tribute to the genre of fairytale retellings, written by an author with a firm handle on her craft. Told in the first person, the novel is narrated mainly from Rowan’s perspective, the oldest of three arboreal-named sisters forced to take up their dwelling in a small mountain village after their merchant father has lost his fortune with the sinking of his three ships. In some ways, this is a very classic take on the fairy story: there’s the ubiquitous dead mother, the ...more
C. Mack
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roses and thorns

A really different and compelling take on a well loved fairy tale that was a great, but sometimes consuming read, in that it required a higher level of concentration that some of my usual fodder. A great story, but not one that I will feel compelled to re-read in the near future.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Beauty and the Beast retelling I've been waiting for!
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Alone
  • Listen
  • Full English
  • Breathe
  • The X Ingredient
  • Not the Marrying Kind
  • Beautiful Dreamer
  • Going Up
  • Living
  • Fear of Falling
  • The Wrong McElroy
  • Breaking Character
  • The Roommate Arrangement
  • Pretending in Paradise
  • The Sex Therapist Next Door
  • Payback
  • Moonlight Avenue
  • Silhouette
See similar books…
Raised in Upstate New York, Anna Burke graduated from Smith College in 2012 with a B. A. in English Literature and Studio Art. She was the inaugural recipient of the Sandra Moran Scholarship for the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Writing Academy.

Anna has lived all along the Eastern seaboard, but wrote her debut novel, the high seas adventure Compass Rose (2018), while living on a small island in
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »