Book Review: The Thief on the Winged Horse – Kate Mascarenhas

by @edent | # #

A winged horse carved into a tree.

The Kendrick family have been making world-famous dolls for over 200 years. But their dolls aren’t coveted for the craftsmanship alone. Each one has a specific emotion laid on it by its creator. A magic that can make you feel bucolic bliss or consuming paranoia at a single touch. Though founded by sisters, now only men may know the secrets of the workshop.
Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn her ancestors’ craft, and when a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and blood ties to the family, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.
But then, one night, the firm’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her.

Do you ever read a book and immediately set out to devour everything the author has written? As soon as I put down The Psychology of Time Travel I simply had to read the next novel by Kate Mascarenhas. Cruely, she made me wait an entire year. But it was worth it.

It would be tempting to make magic the centrepiece of this story – luckily it avoids that. Too many “fantasy” novels get bogged down tin the world-building and mythos-making. This is set in the modern world (they have mobile phones!) and doesn’t pretend that the magic is the central element. It is a tale of family squabbles, tradition becoming unstuck, and lusts.

Perhaps the thing I loved most about it was how prominently Oxford’s Number 3 bus features! Given how often I used them it was a welcome reminder of my time in Oxford.

Thoroughly entertaining, and everso slightly macabre. I’m not sure I can wait a year for her next book!

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