Bitterthorn: A sapphic Gothic romance inspired by classic fairytales

Bitterthorn: A sapphic Gothic romance inspired by classic fairytales

By Author / Illustrator

Kat Dunn


Fairy Tales & Folk Tales

Age range(s)



Andersen Press Ltd




Paperback / softback




Blumwald is a town overshadowed by an ancient curse: in a sinister castle in the depths of the wild wood lives a monstrous Witch. Once a generation, she comes to claim a companion to return with her - never to be seen again. Now that time is drawing near once more...

Mina, daughter of the duke, is grieving and lonely. She has lost all hope of any future for herself in Blumwald. So when the Witch demands her next companion, Mina offers herself up - though she has no idea what fate awaits her. Stranded with her darkly alluring captor, the mystery of what happened to the previous companions draws Mina into the heart of a terrifying secret that could save her life, or end it.

A darkly seductive sapphic Gothic romance inspired by classic fairytales like Beauty and the Beast.  'Kat Dunn has spun a love story both intimate and epic' SAMANTHA SHANNON, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree.  'A deliciously dark fairy tale full of the agony and ecstasy of longing and desire' KATHERINE WEBBER, author of Twin Crowns.



Bitterthorn, by the wonderful author Kat Dunn, is a must read of 2023. Dunn has spun a tale of a beautiful dark romance that will capture your heart and linger long after you have finished the last page...

Mina is a princess in the town of Blumwald, but the town is overshadowed by a curse. In the heart of the wild wood, a sinister castle looms over the town, its owner is a cruel, unforgiving witch, who once in a generation comes to claim a companion who never returns to the town again.

Mina is unloved by her father, the Duke, and his new wife, and she is often overlooked and lonely. When the witch walks into their home, she offers herself up, even though she has no idea what awaits her in that sinister castle. To keep herself occupied, Mina begins to look for clues as to what happened to the previous companions, but as you know, curiosity kills the cat! What will Mina discover? What are these feelings that she has for the witch, or My witch as she now calls her? What secrets is the witch hiding?

Bitterthorn is beautifully descriptive and the pages have a Grimms fairytale feel about them. It's a story of loneliness, suspense and betrayal, all wrapped around the beginning of a sapphic romance. The story would be great for book clubs due to the many discussion points around fairytale stereotypes and further reading opportunities of original and re telling of Beauty and the Beast ( A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer is an exceptional read) and Rumplestiltskin ( Gilded by Marissa Meyer is a well crafted read as well) as the author touched on these themes.

I loved every word of this gothic tale, couldn't put it down. It's a story that will stay with you for a long time.

368 pages / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 14+


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