The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, by Megan Bannen

Hart and Mercy are both single-mindedly focused on their jobs in their rough, desert town. Hart is a marshall. Mercy is an undertaker. And they both hate each other. Also, they’re both dealing with a plague of zombies. So, there’s a lot going on at the beginning of Megan Bannen’s delightful novel, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy. Readers who love quirky love stories set outside of a Regency or Victorian ballroom—especially those who adore the enemies-to-lovers trope—will really enjoy this one.

The funny thing about the enemies-to-lovers trope is that the two characters fail to realize that they have more in common than they realize. They’re both dedicated to doing the right thing. For Hart, that means dispatching reanimated corpses called drudges and patrolling Tanria, the prison of the old gods. Mercy’s duty is to keep her father’s undertaking business going. Neither of them has much time for themselves in all this. They certainly don’t have time to tell other people how lonely they are or how much they feel drawn to their vocations. Carrying all of this emotional baggage around has made them snappish.

Mercy and Hart might’ve continued on their lonely paths if it weren’t for the nimkilim, their world’s magical mail service. Hart breaks down one night and writes a letter to “a friend” to pour out his loneliness. The nimkilim always deliver letters, even the ones that don’t have addresses. In their infinite wisdom, Hart’s letter ends up in Mercy’s hands. And Mercy writes back. We readers just have to sit back and wait until the two realize that they’re actually writing each other.

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy doesn’t leave us waiting for long before we’re rewarded with exciting showdowns with a money-hungry rival undertaker, an epic zombie battle, and a blood-thumping romance between characters who absolutely deserve love. I loved every page of this amazing, original, sweet, thrilling novel.


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