On a cold day deep in the heart of winter, Rowan’s father returns from an ill-fated hunting trip bearing a single, white rose . . .
Rowan, Aspen, and Juniper, the three daughters of a widowed and recently bankrupt merchant, think their bad luck has finally come to end. They have escaped their father’s creditors, and while Rowan longs to be back in the city, the small village nestled in the foothills of the mountains offers her family a chance to start over again in a place where her father’s name is not synonymous with disaster.
The village, her mother’s childhood home, is frustratingly provincial, and Rowan thinks she understands why her mother was so eager to leave it behind. The villagers are full of superstitions and old clan feuds, and worst of all, her ability to read and write is dismissed— especially by her betrothed.
Still, her family is safe, here, and Rowan is determined to make the best of it, until the day her father returns from an ill-fated hunting trip bearing the bodies of his companions and a single, white rose.
The rose is followed by the Huntress, a figure out of legend. Tall, cruel, and achingly beautiful, she brings Rowan back with her to a mountain fastness populated solely by the creatures of the hunt. Rowan, who once scorned the villagers for their superstitions, now finds herself at the heart of a curse with roots as deep as the mountains, ruled by an old magic that is as insidious as the touch of the winter rose.
Rowan’s terror quickly turns to anger at her captivity, and the Huntress, who seems more beastly than all of animals who serve her combined, refuses to give her satisfactory answers. Her only comfort comes from the runty wolf pup that the Huntress leaves for dead, and, of course, the Huntress’ extensive library.
Torn between her family loyalties, her guilty relief at escaping her betrothal to the charming but arrogant Avery Lockland, and her complicated feelings for the Huntress, Rowan must find a way to break the curse before it destroys everything she loves. There is only one problem. If she can find a way to lift the curse, she will have to return to the life she left behind, and the only thing more unbearable than endless winter is facing a lifetime of springs without the Huntress.
“Thorn gives young women all the leading roles: heroes, villains, and lovers. The story delves into clothing as self-presentation, the release from bearing children, the work of self-reliance, reckoning with a family or past that no longer fits, the give and take of true partnership, and the interlinked importance of self-knowledge and love. It does all of this within a framework of castles, rugged landscapes, and forbidding enchantments. Thoroughly gratifying, Thorn is a perennial escape fantasy tangled up with a call to adventure. Burke turns one young woman’s release from drudgery into a beguiling disruption of conventional social roles, expected dichotomies, and personal power.” —Foreword Reviews, Starred Review
“Her prose is exquisite, her characters are memorable, and her worlds are as enthralling as they are dangerous.” —TARA SCOTT, The Lesbian Review
“An epic romance, a dramatic adventure, an exploration of what women are capable of—good, bad and ugly. And all wrapped up in a story worthy of a blockbuster Netflix fantasy. Just brilliant —Ms. Burke is one to watch.” —VELVET LOUNGER, The Lesbian Reading Room
“Burke’s writing is rich and textured. You won’t want to rush through this novel. In fact, if you do, you’ll miss so much. This is writing you want to take in slowly. It deserves to be savored.” —CARLEEN SPRY, Frivolous Views
“Sometimes, you finish a book, and you’re just sat there basking in the afterglow, and then realise you need to review it but have no words to actually describe your feelings about it.” —ANNA and CHARLOTTE, Reads Rainbow
“Burke’s talent is boundless. Her eloquent imagery at times almost brought me to tears and her character work is untouchable. She was able to breathe new life into this familiar tale and make it completely her own.” —VICTORIA THOMAS, The Lesbian Review
“The tone of this novel shifts back-and-forth from poetic and romantic as a rose, to hurting and heartbreaking as a thorn. Similarly, the pace changes from slow-burn romance to fast paced thriller. This book has been a pleasure to read and shows that Anna Burke is quickly becoming more than a promising writer.” —GABY MAURINO, Lez Review Books
“Burke gives the story true beauty with her words. It becomes the story of two women who are completely different, yet fall in love with each other and deal with the truth of their lives.” —AMOS LASSEN
“Not only is Anna Burke in possession of a fine gift for writing in general, but also add to that her sensitivity to writing fantasy fiction in which the main characters are women. Anna knows how to write LGBT stories in such a style that the gender factor is purely additive and not the sole reason for the story. Yes, this is a lesbian-centric novel, a factor that enhances the action even more.” —GRADY HARP, Amazon Hall of Fame & Top 50 Reviewer
Raised in Upstate New York, ANNA BURKE graduated from Smith College in 2012 with a B. A. in English Literature and Studio Art. She holds a certificate from the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa; and was the inaugural recipient of the Sandra Moran Scholarship for the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Writing Academy. Anna’s debut novel, Compass Rose, was written while living on a small island in the West Indies, but Thorn is the product of a long, cold New England winter.