Before we begin, let me wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.
That said, let’s return to Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. When last we’d left Toby, our cursed changeling heroine, she was in the middle of falling off a cliff to her probable death.
To catch up or review, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, and Part 11 of this review and commentary.
Connor, Toby’s selkie ex-boyfriend, saves her from the deep ocean into which she plunges. He drags her ashore, and Evening’s curse slams into her hard, drowning her in the memory of Evening’s death and the moment, long ago, when Toby was turned into a fish and could not breathe. Only because Connor repeatedly slaps her does she crawl back from the brink to life.
When Dare and Manual, the teen bodyguards Devin sent, catch up, Connor takes them all to Shadowed Hills, the domain of Toby’s liege, Duke Sylvester. There, Luna, the duchess, insists Toby’s only option is to go to the Luidaeg, the monstrous sea witch who Devin had heal her. Only there can she find answers.
Reader Comments: Okay, Connor is cooler in this chapter. I suppose that sounds random as the book isn’t really about him, but I like how he just takes charge of things. More on the main point of the book, I like how Toby faces her mistakes in this chapter, like insisting to go it alone.
Writer Comments: Every hero must have a flaw they should face in the course of the book. For Toby, it’s her fierce independence. Granted, this is wrapped up in the painful elements of her past, but since we saw her before these events, we know she had a strong independent streak even then. Her independence is what ultimately gets her into all sorts of trouble, and in this chapter, she comes face to face with the fact that, had she shared all that was happening with Luna and Sylvester earlier, she probably wouldn’t be suffering so badly.
Toby finds herself at the Luidaeg’s threshold, a smelly alley near the docks. There, she comes upon a woman carrying in groceries, a woman she once sold groceries to in the first chapter of the book. The Luidaeg, apparently, is not some monstrosity but as normal as any fae comes, at least as far as initial appearances goes. She makes a deal with the Luidaeg: four questions answered truthfully in exchange for the key to Evening’s knowe and the answer to one of the Luidaeg’s questions. In the course asking her questions, Toby realizes that Devin saved her not out of love, but because he wants the hope chest. She saves the last question for a later time, ensuring the Luidaeg stays in her debt, however deadly that might be. There’s just one last place she needs to go, to Tybalt, who was covered in the blood of the assassin that shot Toby, blood that can give her the final answers.
Reader Comments: I knew it was Devin! The only questions now are the details and how difficult Toby will find confronting Devin with the truth. After all, Evening’s death must be avenged or the curse kills Toby.
Writer Comments: The Luidaeg did not, apparently, come out of nowhere. She appeared in the first chapter. It’s good for the end of a book to loop back to the beginning in some way. It gives a sense of continuity and completion.
Thank you for joining me for these chapters of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. Join me next Monday for our second to last segment of this book and Friday for further forays into books, fiction, the speculative, and life.
And once more, have a happy Thanksgiving.