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THE LAST TALE OF THE FLOWER BRIDE by Roshani Chokshi – double review!

A sumptuous, gothic-infused story about a marriage that is unraveled by dark secrets, a friendship cursed to end in tragedy, and the danger of believing in fairy tales—the breathtaking adult debut from New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi.

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.

Combining the lush, haunting atmosphere of Mexican Gothic with the dreamy enchantment of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, The Last Tale of the Flower Bride is a spellbinding and darkly romantic page-turner about love and lies, secrets and betrayal, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.

Title : The Last Tale of the Flower Bride
Author : Roshani Chokshi
Narrator : Steve West
Format : Hardcover/Audiobook / ARC
Page Count : 304
Genre : Fantasy / gothic romance
Publisher : Hodderscape / William Morrow
Release Date : February 14, 2023

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

– Dark
– Suspenseful
– Otherworldly
– Secretive
– Deliciously gothic

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride was an utterly intriguing story full of otherworldly insinuations. It started with a relationship between Indigo and a man who became her significant other. He never really quite knew Indigo and so he longed for her secrets…that became a runaway train of suspense.

The story was told in some past and present and it tracked Indigo’s friendship with Azure during their teenage years. This past and present worked really well and each time the narrative switched I got swept up in that phase of time.

Did I like Indigo? I’m not sure, I did like the man of the piece and I did like Azure and some of the side characters. Despite the foreshadowing, that ending blew me away and I closed the book with a wow feeling and a sense of completion.

The writing in this piece is evocative, sometimes through a mist. The narrative was alluring, sensual but also twisty with an underlying evil at times. I loved the experience with this book and I think fans of A Dowry of Blood will love this.

If you’re an audio fan, Steve West narrates this absolutely brilliantly and brings such atmosphere.

Thank you to Hodderscape for the review copies.

Hollis’ 4 star review

When I first started reading this, I did not expect to be here, writing a review with a high rating and, dare I say, recommending it.

Initially, I found this hard to get into. The writing felt suffocating, constraining, and I could not get a read on the stylistic choice when compared to the setting. Not quite present day but not so many years in the past, either. It didn’t suit; felt ill-fitting and forced. But then the narrative started to reveal itself to be a bit magical, or wanting magic, steeped in whimsy and stories, mystery; much like our narrator himself. Who was he? Who was Indigo? What would they eventually be to each other? Did I even care?

The story, like most gothics, seemed shrouded in secrets and the unknown. Both characters carried some of this with them but only for one did it seem.. sinister. Unnatural. Somehow Chokshi made Indigo a character you didn’t want to watch but still couldn’t look away from. Or at least that was what I got from her.

Soon enough I had forgotten those early stumbles with the writing. I loved all the various fairytales that were brought up. I was enthralled by the glimpses of the past. Truthfully, other than for the big climax of reveals, I could’ve done without the adult timeline and stayed in the past. The strangeness of it all was just so fascinating. Uncomfortable. Captivating. Moreso by all the unknowable elements at play — was it real? Was it imagined? Who can say. But it’s that big finish that reframes so much of what we think we know early on. And the half can’t exist without the whole. Some of those reveals are heartbreaking. Traumatic. Others, surprising. Definitely foreshadowed. But still really well done (except the thing with the knife, that’s a bit of a head scratcher). In fact, it’s all that unveiled knowledge which makes me think this might actually be better on reread.

Having said that, I think best to go into this one without knowing much more than the vibes. Let this one take you by surprise. But maybe give it a sample first and see if the writing is something you can handle. That might be the biggest hurdle for readers to enjoy this one. But if you’ve read this author before, it won’t be a surprise.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


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