the last tale of the flower bride – roshani chokshi | arc review

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi

Published on February 14, 2023 by William Morrow & Company
Age Range: Adult
Genre: Gothic, Horror, Mystery, Romance


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Once upon a time, a man who believed in fairy tales married a beautiful, mysterious woman named Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada. He was a scholar of myths. She was heiress to a fortune. They exchanged gifts and stories and believed they would live happily ever after—and in exchange for her love, Indigo extracted a promise: that her bridegroom would never pry into her past. 

But when Indigo learns that her estranged aunt is dying and the couple is forced to return to her childhood home, the House of Dreams, the bridegroom will soon find himself unable to resist. For within the crumbling manor’s extravagant rooms and musty halls, there lurks the shadow of another girl: Azure, Indigo’s dearest childhood friend who suddenly disappeared. As the house slowly reveals his wife’s secrets, the bridegroom will be forced to choose between reality and fantasy, even if doing so threatens to destroy their marriage…or their lives. 


Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

trigger and content warnings:
  • loss of a loved one, extreme nightmares, a lot of blood depiction + drawing blood, gore, abuse, domestic abuse, child abuse, child neglect, child abandonment, gaslighting, animal deaths, human deaths, murder, mention of child death, kind of brief mentions of dieting/eating a very specific way, bullying, cheating, codependency, suicidal ideation and thoughts, drugging, pedophilia (very weird things being said, the child being scared/constant state of fear at home, creepy and unsettling vibes every scene with intention for more, and then at 17 years old unwanted touching/brushing past + maybe more/set up to be more… this is a hard trigger warning, but it is a constant thing in the book that is very hard to read so please use caution)
  • taken from melanie’s goodreads

You said: “If you pry, you’ll destroy our marriage.”
But oh, my love, you lied.

The bridegroom finds himself falling in love with a woman. They first met because he was tracing down a rare thirteenth-century grimoire owned by the Casteñada’s family heiress, Indigo. When they fell in love, Indigo had warned her nameless husband that he must never dig into her past. Never. Their romance is a whirlwind with problems soon occurring when Indigo was summoned back to the House of Dreams, her childhood home when her aunt was dying. The bridegroom felt the live-ness of the house. It seemed to like him, spoke to him, and warned him of the dangers. There, he realized that Indigo used to have a close friend who disappeared, a girl who the House of Dreams missed.

I believe this might be the first time I’ve read such a novel by Roshani Chokshi. Her writing style is still lyrical and atmospheric. Mixing the gothic setting with her talent for writing beautiful lines made The Last Tale of the Flower Bride a little more suspenseful, creepier, and haunting. Woven into Indigo and the nameless groom’s story are fairytales that, more often than not, have gruesome or unhappy endings. The tinge of cruelty and dark tones in this supposedly happy marriage created uncertainty.

We are two blues, the neat seam of dusk and dawn.
We share a sky, if not a soul, and yet we are cut of the same shades.

Although the book focused on the bridegroom’s perspective most of the time, we do get glimpses of what happened between Indigo and Azure before the latter went missing. Azure didn’t have a great time at home because of her mother’s boyfriend and she never truly belonged anywhere. Meeting Indigo was her greatest blessing. At first, it felt like two friends having fun with simple magic but it started to escalate to sacrificial. There’s a consequence to everything they do. Indigo might have known but Azure seemed to be kept in the dark. Subsequently, the friendship started to rot from within. Azure began to think about being herself, exploring the world, and meeting new people. While she still cherishes Indigo, she wanted to be Azure. Not Indigo’s shadow.

Roshani Chokshi is brilliant at writing. I definitely enjoyed The Last Tale of the Flower Bride because it’s pretty different from her past works. On the outside, the House might be beautiful and magic might be great, but Indigo’s need for power and control caused their friendship to deteriorate. The strangeness of the character and the unsettling feeling was well created. I never knew when the other shoe will drop.

“You let me walk into the dark, Indigo, and then you left me there. You can’t be mad when I can’t see properly.”


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