Seventeen-year-old Ella copes the best she can; caring for her war-injured father, scrubbing the floors, and slaying the undead that attack the locals. Vermin they’re called, like rats they spread pestilence with their bite. Ella’s world collides with another when she nearly decapitates a handsome stranger, who is very much alive.Seth deMage, the new Duke of Leithfield, has returned to his ancestral home with a mission from the War Office — to control the plague of vermin in rural Somerset. He needs help; he just didn’t expect to find it in a katana-wielding scullery maid.
Working alongside Seth blurs the line between their positions, and Ella glimpses a future she never dreamed was possible. But in overstepping society’s boundaries, Ella could lose everything – home, head and her heart…
I follow the author on facebook and when I read her summary of the story before it came out I was very intrigued. You all know by know how I feel about fairy tale retellings and Ella, the Slayer is a take on Cinderella that you just have to read to appreciate.
Ella is also a strong capable, katana wielding woman who the town has deemed their slayer. But this is not meant to be endearing. You see her soul is already tainted from her first kill, of what they see as possible helpless souls, so they have tasked her with the job saving the humanity and afterlife of the other towns other inhabitants. All of this while serving her Step Mother Elizabeth and her step sisters Louise and Charlotte. And let’s not forget a father who has returned from the war with a brain injury that has left him helpless.
Then there is the Duke of Leithfield Seth. He has also returned from the war to take over his families estate and to see to his people. When he encounters Ella sparks fly and you can’t help but be drawn to this very capable man. It is fun to watch him dodge unwanted advances from Louise and deal with the vermin problem and fall in love with Ella all at the same time.
The author does a wonderful job of drawing you into her world and keeping you there. The story smoothly takes you on a journey through the zombie outbreak in the 1920s and brings in new elements that are interesting. The supporting characters add depth and adventure to the story. I would absolutely put this on my must read list.
As to A. W. Exley’s question at the end, I would LOVE to see Ella’s story continued. What happens with Elizabeth, Henry and Frank and Alice and most importantly do Seth and Ella finally get their queen for the War Office?
Original background image by wieslawmajczuk