Book Reviews

Review: Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott

Ever since I saw GennaRose Nethercott on a panel, I knew I had to read Thistlefoot. And when I saw my library hold come through, I immediately started. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts on Thistlefoot.


The Yaga siblings–Bellatine, a young woodworker, and Isaac, a wayfaring street performer and con artist–have been estranged since childhood, separated both by resentment and by wide miles of American highway. But when they learn that they are to receive a mysterious inheritance, the siblings are reunited–only to discover that their bequest isn’t land or money, but something far stranger: a sentient house on chicken legs.

Thistlefoot, as the house is called, has arrived from the Yagas’ ancestral home in Russia–but not alone. A sinister figure known only as the Longshadow Man has tracked it to American shores, bearing with him violent secrets from the past: fiery memories that have hidden in Isaac and Bellatine’s blood for generations. As the Yaga siblings embark with Thistlefoot on a final cross-country tour of their family’s traveling theater show, the Longshadow Man follows in relentless pursuit, seeding destruction in his wake. Ultimately, time, magic, and legacy must collide–erupting in a powerful conflagration to determine who gets to remember the past and craft a new future.


Thistlefoot feels like an homage to oral storytelling. To the importance of passing down stories, histories, legacies, and warnings. With its usage of the theater, it feels cinematic, like you’re listening to an elaborate play of itself. Thistlefoot is a story about siblinghood, family, and the importance of bearing witness of passing the stories along. Of never being silent. Multiple POV, Thistlefoot has a darkness, an eerieness, all grounded in detailed and emotional character work.

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Our past, our families secrets, and the responsibilities of our powers. Listening to Thistlefoot was a special experience. January LaVoy did a phenomenal job at infusing every word with theatricality. It felt like a nostalgic and innovative experience to listen to this homage to oral storytelling as an audiobook. If you have the opportunity, I definitely recommend! Thistlefoot is about honoring, celebrating, discovering, and tucking in our family history.

It emphasizes the importance of bearing witness. Of making sure we never forget the history of what happened. The pieces of history we carry within us and in our home. Find Thistlefoot on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells,, and Google Play.


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