I’m sure a lot of people have seen this book around with it being a Fairyloot Adult pick. However, the book hasn’t actually been officially released yet. I was lucky enough to be sent an early copy of the standard paperback from Orbit, who is publishing it. With this being a highly anticipated release of mine, I was so excited to dive into this one. And it was definitely worth it.
Hart is a marshal who’s been alone for years, and Mercy is an undertaker who has single-handedly been keeping her family’s business afloat. The two hate each other, but after a particularly harsh argument, Hart finds himself penning a letter to an unknown person. When Mercy receives it, she’s confused by her anonymous pen pal, but she writes back, and they strike up a friendship. They don’t know their new friend is each other, but soon they wind up falling for each other.
I did assume this was going to be a historical fantasy rom-com, but it wasn’t quite. This book felt part western, part like it was set in the 40s or 50s but also kind of modern at the same time. It was a weird mix, but it really worked. The world in this book was fully thought-out. I don’t think we need more stories following Hart and Mercy, but I want to see more stories in this world. It was also a very inclusive world, so we could get all sorts of books.
The weird blend of genres was definitely one of the things that made this book so fun. One moment there are zombies, and you’re trying to work out what’s going on, then you’re giggling over Hart and Mercy bickering or flirting. It bounces from genre to genre but instead of being too much or too weird, it’s this perfect blend. I had all the good feelings I get from reading a good chick-lit or rom-com but all the intrigue and excitement of a good fantasy novel.
Both of the protagonists were great. I loved that they were both readers for one thing. Being in their heads could be very entertaining. But my favourite character was probably Pen. He’s Hart’s apprentice, and he winds up dating Mercy’s brother. He was so fun, and honestly, it was wonderful seeing him come into his own. He started off as this kid who was probably a little over-confident, but he becomes a confidante and a good marshal in his own right. I’d kind of like a book about his and Zeddie’s relationship, but I’m not sure what story that would be.
One thing I should add is that as much as I laughed at this book, there are definitely some emotional moments. You have characters dealing with grief, including the loss of a pet. So this book can be a little painful. Despite those moments, I spent most of this book smiling. It just won’t hurt to have a few tissues on hand too.
I enjoyed this book so damn much. I really don’t know how to put it into words. I thought I would have so much to say, but all I can think was this book was so good. So many romance authors have blurbed this book, and honestly, it does feel more like a rom-com than a fantasy in a lot of ways. But it still has everything that fantasy readers will love.
If you aren’t sure whether you’ll like this book – pick it up anyway. I’m so sure that it’ll surprise you and you’ll love it.
Title: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy
Author: Megan Bannen
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Age Range: Adult
Release Date: 25/8/2022