I’m beginning to think I could probably stick to reading fairy tales with a twist for the next three years, and never get bored, as long as they were all as good as Laura Wood’s A Single Thread of Moonlight.
Iris Grey is a modiste with skills that see the most fashionable ladies in society flocking to her employer’s shop, but she hides away in the backroom of the shop keeping a low profile and living under a pseudonym, having run away from her life among the landed gentry after her father’s suspicious death made her think that she would be the next victim in her wicked stepmother’s sights. Having lived by her wits in London, supporting herself with the needle skills she learned from her mother, seven years have now passed and she has weeks left to decide whether to return, reveal her identity and claim her birth right or be declared legally dead allowing her stepmother to claim her inheritance. Of course, at this very moment she catches the eye of the cold, calculating and far too handsome Nicholas Wynter, who like a fairy godmother offers Iris a chance to romance a handsome prince, while avenging her father’s death and learning the truth about her wicked stepmother and stepsisters.
Though this is shelved in bookshops as teenage fiction, A Single Thread of Moonlight is a novel with great crossover appeal. Beneath the glittering façade of romance, fabulous dresses, stately homes and masked balls; it touches on some pretty serious issues the emotional abuse of a child by their carer, coercive control in relationships, and the scales falling from your eyes as you realise that your hero might not be who you though they were. At the same time, it does this lightly within the context of a rollicking story – the novel layers romance and mystery, crafting a story based on the basic plot of Cinderella, but with an energetic and intelligent heroine who needs neither a fairy godmother or a handsome prince to save her.
A Single Thread of Moonlight is a fun, plot driven novel which frankly saved my sanity while sitting up all night with a toddler with a wild fever from covid who was not going to sleep thank you very much, it’s definitely made me want to check out Laura Wood’s other novels and would be a great tide me over between series of Bridgerton.