When last we left Toby, the changeling heroine in Seanan McGuire’s Rosemary and Rue, she’d been repeatedly shot, beaten up, and was suffering from iron poisoning. Oh, and she was bound by the curse of Evening Winterrose just before she was murdered, a curse that will kill Toby unless she solves the murder fast.
To catch up or review this read and commentary, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and Part 9.
Toby wakes alive and hurting and with no sight of Devin, who keeps trying to talk her out of chasing after Evening’s murderer. Clad only in her bathrobe, she makes a passing effort to get up and around and is surprised to find her long lost daughter Gillian knocking on her door. Stunned, she lets her in and notes, barely in time, that she isn’t really Gillian, but a doppleganger bent on slaughtering her and discovering where she hid the hope chest, not necessarily in that order. Just before she dies, Dare and Manuel, Devin’s “kids,” show up to lend a hand and thoroughly destroy any chance Toby has left at getting her apartment deposit back. As the doppleganger melts into the carpet, she passes out from blood loss, again.
Reader Comments: It’s Devin. Let me put that more clearly. I have a strong suspicion that Devin killed Evening, and he’s trying to get Toby to give up hunting for her murderer because he really cares for Toby and doesn’t want to have to “take care of her.” Only guessing, but aside from the doppleganger trying to kill her, I have no reservations in this theory.
Writer Comments: Every hero has a weakness, ideally more than one and at least a few that shoot straight at his heart. In Toby’s case, this is her daughter, the one she most wants as a part of her life, the part she lost over the past fourteen years that most hurts. And, naturally, McGuire exploits this as the doppleganger to take Toby at her weakest.
Sometime later, she wakes to hear Devin yelling at Dare and Manuel for nearly getting her killed. After figuratively pulling him off them, she escapes to the bathroom to find herself dressed in a slinky purple nightgown and alarmingly healed from her wounds and iron poisoning. Now that she’s not suffering so directly, Evening’s binding slams her hard, making her relive the death in agonizing detail. Dare comes in on her with her head on the sink and asks how she got away from Devin. Toby agrees to help her and her brother escape Home, if she can.
Reader Comments: Oo, I like seeing this other side of Dare, and her wanting to escape Devin thickens the plot. Does she know or suspect something? Of course, that could mean nothing if I’m wrong about Devin being the killer. Maybe Devin intended for the doppleganger to kill her and Manuel too if he knew they were trying to escape him, or maybe I’m completely off and jumping to bizarre conclusions. Even if Devin is the murderer, I suspect he would find a less obvious way to knock off two of his cronies.
Writer Comments: This facet of Dare’s personality is far different than the punk kid that gave Toby trouble when she first returned Home, but it enriches her so much and makes the story and her character far more engaging. Characters, even minor ones, should have layers and surprising, often conflicting, parts of their personality.
Monday, we’ll return to Rosemary and Rue and see what other trouble Toby can stumble upon. Until then, come back Wednesday for The Next Big Thing, a sneak peak into my next big project and a glimpse at some fellow authors with exciting new projects of their own.