Happy Halloween everyone!
This year seems to be really flying in. As it is Halloween I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share my review of one of my favourite reads from the last couple of weeks, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen. It’s You’ve Got Mail but with zombies, well kind of. There’s an enemies to lovers, grumpy sunshine type romance at the centre with a truly unique world and some wonderful secondary characters.
What’s the story…
Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.
Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.
After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.
If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most – Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares – each other?
I really, really liked this book. I was very tempted to give it 5 stars based on the ending but I don’t think I can quite justify a perfect rating. It did come very close though as it has all the things I love in a fantasy romance.
I originally spied this on booktok and just loved the sound of it. It’s very much based on the movie You’ve Got Mail with a fantasy twist. Some of the scenes and plot lines could have been almost lifted directly from the film. I just love the whole enemies to lovers thing so it was right up my street. I loved that they hated each other and couldn’t have a single civil conversation but formed such a true connection through their letters.
I liked Mercy a lot but I think I loved Hart the most. He is the grump in this grumpy sunshine relationship but it’s largely surface grumpiness driven by grief, loneliness and fear. Underneath it all he’s a big marshmallow. I really wanted to give him a hug (even though he’d hate it).
Mercy was much more open, upbeat and positive but still a little bit lonely and isolated and carrying so much responsibility with no one to lean on or confide in. Basically they were perfect for each other but were completely clueless. I adored the letters they sent each other. I could very happily have read more of them but I guess then I would have missed out on the fun of the other relationships and secondary characters.
The other characters were for the most part equally lovable (there are a couple of villains in there) and I loved the relationships between them. Highlights for me were Mercy’s sister Lil who is not afraid to speak her mind and is pretty bad ass and the relationship between Hart and apprentice Duckers. The teasing is a lot of fun and it was great to see Hart lightening up and also opening up.
My only slight niggle and the reason I don’t think I can quite give 5 stars is the world building. I do think the world the author has created is wonderful. It’s clear a lot of thought has gone into it and it’s really original. The problem I had is that it was probably too original and there was just too much going on and not all of it was really explained or described.
There are a lot of place names, a whole religion and belief system and a lot of new words and language. Forms of transport, days of the week all seem to have these different words and there are certain things that I never really understood what they were and couldn’t picture.
The story is however strong enough that I could skim over these without it affecting my enjoyment too much. I do think it would have been better if kept a little simpler.
Overall though a very enjoyable read and one I’d definitely recommend