Book Reviews

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy – Megan Bannen

**Thank you to Netgalley and Orbit for providing an advanced reader copy. This does not affect my review in any way**

I remember seeing this on Orbit’s Twitter and I have to be honest, I ended up adding this to my TBR based on the cover alone. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but the bright colours are certainly eye catching (and to be fair, the blurb had me intrigued too!) Based on the premise of this, I had a feeling that this was going to be little bit out of my comfort zone, but that is in no way a bad thing (especially as I’m trying to be a bit more adventurous with my reading).


Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most – Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares – each other?

Content warnings:

Death, descriptions of death, physical altercations and injury

My thoughts:

I went into this knowing very little about it, other than I knew I wanted to read it. This was one that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I really enjoyed the story and how invested I got. It was one of those rare books where I not only found myself reaching for the book whenever I could, but also got so invested in the characters, I wanted to yell at them for not seeing what was in front of them.

I liked a lot of things in Hart and Mercy, but the characters were the real stand out for me. I found myself really liking Mercy and her family – I empathised a lot with Mercy herself and she felt real and honest. I really liked her younger brother too and his storyline was enjoyable – it provided a bit of lightness at times and just brought a smile to my face. There was something about the warmth of Mercy and her family that was just really wholesome.

Hart, on the other hand, is Mercy’s complete opposite at the start of the story, but I loved watching him come out of his shell as the story progressed. I also really loved the gruff teacher and sunshine apprentice trope that made up some of Hart’s storyline. Duckers is a lovely character and I loved how he brought out the best in Hart.

While I enjoyed the story as a whole, I did have a couple of quibbles:

  1. I kind of wished the exchange of letters had lasted a little bit longer. Given that this is emphasised quite a bit, I’d expected there to be more, but it felt like that section of the story was over quite quickly.
  2. *Potential spoiler* I wished that the plot line involving Cunningham (a rival undertaker) wanting to buy Mercy’s family business was developed a bit more. I felt like there were a couple of jumps that I missed, but I did read this fairly quickly so it’s entirely possible that I skipped past them without realising.

These are honestly very tiny quibbles and they definitely didn’t detract from how much I enjoyed reading this.

This is one of those books where I can’t quite put my finger on why I enjoyed it so much, but was definitely the right book at the right time for me. Maybe because it was the change of pace or maybe it was something else. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed this and I just know I’m going to be re-reading it at some point.

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