You know when you read something that is utterly iconic and you’re so blown away? That’s me and Ash. It’s a book I’ve heard so much about, but hadn’t read until last month for my Backlist Bookworms book club.
In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
Ash is utterly iconic. Reading the 10th anniversary edition puts into perspective how iconic and monumental Ash was and still is today. How revolutionary it was to see this lesbian re-telling where lesbianism is nothing big, it’s not about a coming out story, but a story where their love just exists. And it presents a happy ending for this queer couple, something that is too often, even now, denied.
If these weren’t enough reasons, what really brought it over the top was its discussion of grief. Ash is rooted in that sudden and encompassing grief. How the knowledge of her mother is lost to her. It’s about stories within the story, their purpose and warmth. There’s gorgeous descriptions of the forest, swooning romances, and a story about sacrifice.