Review: The Undermining of Twyla and Frank by Megan Bannen

The Undermining of Twyla and Frank by Megan Bannen

Olivia reviews The Undermining of Twyla and Frank, the second standalone novel in Megan Bannen‘s Hart and Mercy series.

Review(s) of the previous book(s): The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

An ARC was received by Orbit in exchange for an honest review. The Undermining of Twyla and Frank will be published by Orbit on July 2, 2024.

About the Book
Series:Hart and Mercy #2
Genre:Fantasy, Romance
Publisher:Orbit
Date of Publishing:July 2, 2024
Trigger Warnings:
Page count:464
Book Blurb
The Undermining of Twyla and Frank by Megan Bannen

From the author of The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy comes a heartwarming fantasy with a best friends-to-lovers rom com twist–When Harry Met Sally, but with dragons!—set in the delightful demigod and donut-filled world of Tanria.

The entire town of Eternity was shocked when widowed, middle-aged Twyla Banneker partnered up with her neighbor and best friend, Frank Ellis, to join the Tanrian Marshals. Eight years later, Twyla and Frank are still patrolling the dangerous land of Tanria, the former prison of the Old Gods.

Twyla might look like a small town mom who brings cheesy potatoes to funerals and whips up a batch of cookies for the school bake sale, but her rewarding career in law enforcement has been a welcome change from the domestic grind of mom life, despite the misgivings of her grown children.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) a recent decrease in on-the-job peril has made Twyla and Frank’s job a lot safer … and a lot less exciting. So when they discover the body of one of their fellow marshals covered in liquid glitter–and Frank finds himself the inadvertent foster dad to a baby dragon–they are more than happy to be back on the beat.

Soon, the friends wind up ensnared in a nefarious plot that goes far deeper than any lucrative Tanrian mineshaft. But as the danger closes in and Twyla and Frank’s investigation becomes more complicated, so does their easy friendship. And Twyla starts to realize that her true soul mate might just be the person who has lived next door all along…

Quote of the Book
Quote Background

“Well now, I don’t mean to discourage a little thinking outside the box, but I’ve been working in Tanria for twenty-two years, and I’ve never seen a dragon.”

Song of the Book
Review

I can always, always depend on Megan Bannen to give me:

  • Witty banter
  • Warm romance
  • Straight-faced, absolutely bizarre, absolutely delightful world-building
  • Ugly tears

Which makes this the sixth book that has ever made me cry. (Bannen’s Hart and Mercy also makes this list.)

Let me back up.

The Undermining of Twyla and Frank is a secondary world portal fantasy with a strong best friends-to-lovers romantic subplot—and a baby dragon. The romantic leads are a middle-aged widowed mother and a middle-aged divorced father who patrol another world. And if everything I’ve just said makes you sit up and take interest, please let me assure you that this book is even better than your wildest expectations probably suggest.

Somehow, Megan Bannen always manages to deliver a wrenching commentary on far-too-real issues, wrapped up in an absurd but touching fantasy plot. The Undermining of Twyla and Frank gets into the weeds on the ways in which women end up minimising themselves in favour of their partners and their children. It also feels like the best fever dream you’ve ever had, full of fuchsia dragons, talking hedgehog mailmen named after Mesopotamian deities, Old Gods, New Gods, and men who voluntarily do the dishes.

Bannen’s writing is so delectably smooth that you just end up devouring her books, nodding along with all of their strangeness as though it’s the most natural thing in the world. Her utterly bonkers world-building is so neatly delivered as to be barely noticeable—a subtle but confoundingly skillful trait that I appreciate more and more as time goes on.

Bannen had already cemented her place on my shelf with The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy. But The Undermining of Twyla and Frank proves that she just keeps getting better and better. Truly, I adored this book—and I can’t wait for everyone else to read it.

Our Judgement
Praise Their Name - 5 crowns

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