A magical family legacy touched by tragedy brings estranged siblings together to battle a dark force in Thistlefoot, a graceful, offbeat folk ballad of a novel from poet and folklorist GennaRose Nethercott (The Lumberjack's Dove).

Siblings Bellatine and Isaac Yaga haven't seen each other in six years when they reunite to accept a surprising inheritance: a house on a chicken's legs. Woodworker Bellatine bonds with the mobile, sentient structure and names it Thistlefoot after their mother's assertion that people in their family are "born with thistles in our feet. It's why we're always traveling." Isaac, a sticky-fingered street performer with a preternatural gift for mimicry, agrees to give his half-share to Bellatine if she spends a year helping him perform one of their puppeteer family's shows. She agrees but fears proximity to the puppets may provoke the Embering, a dangerous power that lives in her hands. On tour with Thistlefoot as both stage and transportation, they soon find themselves trailed by the Longshadow Man. This malevolent being with ties to their lost family history will stop at nothing to see Thistlefoot and the Yagas destroyed.

Nethercott's rich reimagining of the Baba Yaga myth is accented by Jewish folktales and combines gorgeous imagery and delicate family dynamics with a good-versus-evil struggle that is generations in the making. The Yaga siblings' stories are intercut with scenes from the life of Baba Yaga as told by Thistlefoot itself. This imaginative, lyrical Slavic fantasy will captivate fans of Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver or Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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