It is a cold but bright day in Yorkshire with no sign of snow, but if you are huddled indoors near a fire, this book may be one to keep you company. I am pleased to share my review for The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas.
Book Review: The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas
Title: The Thief on the Winged Horse
Author: Kate Mascarenhas
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Release Date: 12th November 2020
A dazzling mixture of crime, romance, magic and myth from the author of the bestselling The Psychology of Time Travel.
The Kendrick family have been making world-famous dolls for over 200 years. But their dolls aren’t coveted for the craftsmanship alone. Each one has a specific emotion laid on it by its creator. A magic that can make you feel bucolic bliss or consuming paranoia at a single touch. Though founded by sisters, now only men may know the secrets of the workshop.
Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn her ancestors’ craft, and when a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and blood ties to the family, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.
But then, one night, the firm’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her. Only a Kendrick could have committed this crime…
It was the beautiful cover that drew me to this novel but it was the well developed characters that kept me captivated in this unusual book. I loved the premise of a magical doll factory with enchanted dolls but I found the dolls unnerving and creepy. I had to keep my own over active imagination, and the fear of them going rogue in check. If you have a doll phobia this is not the book for you but for everyone else who loves magic like I do, this novel is fascinating.
I enjoyed the conflict with the men being in charge of the dolls’ hexes (enchantments) and have access to all the spells despite the company being founded by four sisters, and the women desiring change. The arrival of Larkin acts as the catalyst and he became one of my favourite characters despite not knowing whether to trust him or not. He had depth and secrets, and was perfect for Persephone to react to. She may have been surly but she had more depth than the other characters and kept the story going with her drive to want more, despite the obstacles she faced because of her gender and father. The story is an exploration of equality, power among the elite, manipulation and lies.
Despite the fae taking a less active and visual role I expected, the blend of magic and contemporary life worked well.
Would I recommend?
Yes, it is an imaginative, entertaining and thought provoking read. The premise and characters make it a book to remember. If you loved The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale you will love this.
I look forward to exploring Kate Mascarenhas’ previous novel and keep an eye out for more in the future.
A big thank you to Head of Zeus for giving me an advanced copy to read so I could share my honest and unbiased opinion.
Happy reading and stay safe!