TITLE: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy
AUTHOR: Megan Bannen
AGE RANGE: Adult
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?
Set in a world full of magic and demigods, donuts and small-town drama, this enchantingly quirky, utterly unique fantasy is perfect for readers of The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Invisible Library.
It annoyed Mercy to no end that after years of putting up with that insufferable marshal, some primal inner instinct continued to think he looked good enough to eat.
Well, I adored everything about this. Mercy and Hart are adorable, most of the side characters are hilarious and lovable and a constant nuisance in the best way, the world is fun and unique, the drudges (AKA zombies) are just present enough to keep things suspenseful without ever over-shadowing the romance, and the entire story is a mash-up of so many genres that I never thought it would work, but guess what? It works.
I was sucked in from the very first moment Mercy and Hart bickered at one another, and it never got old. Even when I just wanted them to get over their respective obliviousness and recognize what was happening between the two of them, I still found myself enjoying the arguing and angst and reluctant attraction so much. I feel like a lot of enemies-to-lovers stories don’t always nail the ratio—either there’s too much enemy content with a magical flip switching them to lovers, or they were never enemies to begin with!—but Megan Bannen perfectly showed the gradual shift from enemies to reluctant friends to hot, passionate romance.
I loved every minute of this book, friends. I tabbed this poor paperback half to death and already know it’s going to be a well-worn copy in no time because this is the sort of story I can easily see myself revisiting very soon.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.
gore, violence, death, medical content, misogyny, Mercy’s father has recently suffered a heart attack
Mercy is described as curvy and possibly plus-sized; multiple queer side characters (including depictions of two side romances, one w/w and one m/m)
— destiny ♥