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The Last Tale of the Flower Bride


The Last Tale of the Flower Bride

Bestselling middle grade and young adult author Roshani Chokshi makes her adult fiction debut with THE LAST TALE OF THE FLOWER BRIDE, a luscious and breathtaking gothic fairy tale about love, the lies we tell ourselves to preserve it, and the transformative power of believing your own truth.

Once upon a time, a man who is an expert in fairy tales, grimoires, lore, mythology and fantasy meets a beguiling, supernaturally beautiful woman named Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada. The heiress to a global fortune of art, properties and wealth, Indigo moves in a world apart from the man, not only in privilege and economy but in the otherworldly way with which she controls every encounter, her words as well-chosen as a witch and her sultry, silky movements as cunning as a siren or selkie. Using the language and incantations of fairy tales, the man and woman begin a fiery love affair with one caveat. Although the man can attend to Indigo’s most carnal needs, reveal his deepest, darkest secrets to her, and accompany her on expensive, perspective-altering trips around the globe, he must never ask about her past, especially Azure, the best friend she lost on the cusp of adulthood.

"THE LAST TALE OF THE FLOWER BRIDE is an unforgettable and inimitable reading experience from one of the finest fantasy writers working today.... The text is rich in flavor in every sense of the word, and the metaphors are stunning..."

A few years into their marriage, our protagonist starts to sense that Indigo is pulling away from him and that the games --- based on mythological kings and queens, riddles and puzzles --- that once formed the foundation of their romance are starting to grow stale. The man has long believed that the woman he loves is hiding something, a darkness or danger that could be his very demise, but he has made a promise to never pry. And then Indigo receives a call from the House of Dreams, the gothic mansion in which she was raised and to which she has never returned. Hippolyta “Tati” Maxwell-Casteñada, the aunt who raised her after the early, tragic death of her parents, is deathly ill. Indigo must return to the mansion to say goodbye, settle her affairs and reckon with the history she has long tried to bury.

As the bridegroom and Indigo arrive at the House of Dreams, he is faced with a terrifying mansion of gothic splendor, one that seems to live and breathe as much as its inhabitants. Full of antiques and exotic collectibles, the manor is luxurious and glamorous but has an air of decay about it, the rot of secrets left to fester and dark memories growing in the dusty corners. The man is warned that the house has a mind of its own and anyone it likes will be trapped inside its walls. But even stranger is the transformation of his wife.

Indigo, always a bit mysterious and removed from most social interactions, has turned downright cold, and Tati claims she cannot recognize the girl she loved as her own. When Tati tells the bridegroom that Indigo knows far more about Azure’s disappearance than she is letting on and that he must solve the riddle before it’s too late, he begins to realize that he knows very little about his wife. The answer to either condemning himself to her curse or rescuing her from it lies in the unraveling of fairy tales both real and fictionalized.

Alternating between the bridegroom’s perspective of the House of Dreams and his devilish, beguiling wife, we see the childhood friendship of Indigo and Azure, two girls obsessed with the Otherworld and the enchantments that lie there. Junior scholars of fantasy and fairy tales, they believe that one day they will transform and return to the world of the Fae to be lauded for surviving the mortal world. But as the girls turn into teenagers and young women, Indigo’s obsession takes on a dangerous air, and Azure must plot a way out of the fantasy constructed by her best friend or prove the existence of the Otherworld once and for all. As her journey into magic and mythology picks up pace and reaches a startling conclusion, the bridegroom grows closer to uncovering the truth about Azure and the creeping, dangerous power of Indigo’s magic.

THE LAST TALE OF THE FLOWER BRIDE is an unforgettable and inimitable reading experience from one of the finest fantasy writers working today. Written in gorgeous, sumptuous prose, this fractured fairy tale, in addition to its clever construction and intellectual ponderings, manages to live and breathe true magic, the whimsy of childhood and the potential for a portal to a new world in every whorl of wood, closed door and blossoming love affair.

Vividly detailed and beautifully rendered, the novel comes most alive when Chokshi describes the glittering jewel tones of every scrap of silk, the fragrant offerings of gold-brushed plums, and the decadent meals of meat stewed in its own juices. The text is rich in flavor in every sense of the word, and the metaphors are stunning: the home of Azure’s abusive stepfather figure, for example, is a mouth that “chewed and swallowed and fed on [us] so well [we] couldn’t even see how deep [we were] buried in its belly.” Still, the prose is never overwritten or overly sentimental; it's perfectly romantic and glittering, particularly when Chokshi presents poignant, evergreen musings on marriage and the transformative power of love.

In describing the pull that his bride has on him, the bridegroom remarks, “She looked like the nostalgia that settles in your ribs at the end of a story...” I can think of no better way to describe this unforgettable, haunting love story dressed in a wicked fairy tale. Read THE LAST TALE OF THE FLOWER BRIDE once for the story and again for the prose; I can guarantee you won’t regret it either time.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on February 24, 2023

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride
by Roshani Chokshi

  • Publication Date: March 5, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism, Romance
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 006320651X
  • ISBN-13: 9780063206519