ARC Review: The Rose and the Claw by Nancy O’Toole

About the Book:

Title: The Rose and the Claw

Author: Nancy O’Toole

Series: The Twin Kingdoms

Page Length: 140

Publication Date: Aug. 2, 2021

Publisher: Midnight Tide Publishing

Synopsis: A woman on a mission…

Rose Gardner never thought she’d leave the small town of West Ridge. But when her husband dies at war, she must return his arms to his place of birth to set his spirit to rest. After traveling into enemy territory, Rose falls into a trap. Held captive in an enchanted manor, she finds herself face to face with a beast who is equally horrifying and kind. Will she manage to complete her quest or be pulled in by the secrets of the manor?

A man haunted by his past…

Trapped within his own home and in the body of a hideous beast, Kris never wanted to share his prison with another. As much as Rose may draw him in with her beauty and stubborn strength, he knows she must escape before the next full moon. After all, he remembers all too well what happened to the previous caretaker.

The dead won’t let him forget the blood on his hands.

LINK:     Goodreads   

*This review is featured by Twinkl in their blog about the latest must-read books. See more recommendations and get involved at Book Lovers’ Top Picks For Your 2021 TBR List.

My Review:

A layered and immersive novella with dynamically developed characters, suspense, and a bit of political intrigue, The Raven and the Claw is a fantastic story! I love the supernatural elements, the world-building, and the new spin on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale.

The story switches between Kris and Rose’s perspectives, giving the reader a wider view of the story. Rose has suffered tremendous loss and is determined to set her husband’s spirit to rest. This proves difficult, as she is unwelcome in his country and is eventually forced to remain at the beast’s manor. Though Rose is already very wise, she learns so much about herself and others while captive at the manor, as does Kris. The reasons for Kris’s situation are very different from the beast in the classic fairy tale, which I found refreshing and intriguing. Kris has such a compelling story, and, like Rose, he struggles with grief. Guilt, fear, and regret weigh heavily on Kris, justifiably so. He’s a big cinnamon roll of a character, and I so wanted him to find happiness.

I’m a sucker for a great love story, and the slow-building romance between Rose and Kris is wonderful! Kris is so tormented by his situation and fears for Rose’s safety. Because of his situation, he keeps people at a distance, and he tries to do this with Rose, but Rose gets through his walls. She is intuitive, strong, and courageous, and she is one of the few people undaunted by the beast and the mysterious manor. She is also one of the only people who try to get to know Kris. She sees him for who he truly is, and the more time she spends with him, the more she likes him. Their blossoming love story is riddled with obstacles, but their growing bond could prove stronger than the problems that stand in their way.

“You have all of the beauty of your namesake, with none of the sweetness.” “If you wanted a sweet daughter, then you shouldn’t have named me after something with thorns.”

The supernatural elements, the secrets of the manor, and the curse are mysterious, dark, and dangerous, which creates a suspenseful and ominous tone throughout the story. The post-war setting also adds tension to the story, as well as an added layer of intrigue. Rose is in an enemy country, and her treatment by many shows that animosity remains. Other revelations hint at possible political conflicts in future books in the series. However, the novella isn’t completely dark and ominous. Rose’s vibrant personality and the growing relationship between her and Kris brings optimism and hope to the story.

I highly recommend The Rose and the Claw especially if you enjoy well-paced and well-written fantasy-romance novellas with great characters and intriguing supernatural elements. I can’t wait to read the next story in the series! Thanks so much to Nancy O’Toole for a copy of the novella in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The writing.
  • The supernatural elements
  • The fresh spin on the classic fairy tale – well done!

Favorite Lines:

Luxury, it turned out, was as dull as anything else after you saw enough of it.

If something takes a little extra effort, it’s worth it in the long run.

A woman can’t lose the love of her life and expect it not to change her.

Life, the prophets said, was designed in an interlocking series of cycles. Day to night, Winter to spring. Peace to war. Life to death. All cycling back on themselves in one inescapable loop.

“Kinda hard not to suffer alone when grief follows you like a shadow.”



16 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Rose and the Claw by Nancy O’Toole

  1. Reblogged this on One Book More and commented:

    To celebrate the upcoming release of A Touch of Magic, the second book in The Twin Kingdoms series by Nancy O’Toole, I thought I’d share my review of the first book. I loved The Rose and the Claw and thought it was a clever reimagining of Beauty and the Beast!

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