This is an engaging and confident first book from a natural storyteller. Kath Middleton was already well-known as a reviewer of fiction and a champion of indie authors everywhere, but now it seems she’s going to successfully carve a new career as an author herself!
Ravenfold is a tale of families, power and revenge, set in medieval England. This is portrayed with just enough detail to feel authentic, although the focus is less on history and more on the characters. When young Romelda is forcibly married to the monstrous Lord Oswald, her life and those of her parents and friends are twisted out of shape forever. The story takes some surprising dramatic turns along the way, incorporating what may even be shades of the supernatural.
The structure resembles a children’s fable, with a framing story of a man relating Romelda’s tale as a bedtime story to his grandchildren. But this is actually a very adult book, including some strong scenes that do not shy away from depicting the brutality of medieval life. Kath handles these with a light touch but paints some gruesome pictures in the imagination. There is also plenty of gallows humour that had me chuckling aloud, but is most definitely not for young readers!
Ravenfold is a darkly entertaining tale that promises even greater stories from this author in the future.