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Rosemary and Rue is the first book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. It follows Toby's unwilling return to the world of Faerie to investigate Evening Winterrose's murder.

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that's for thoughts... There's fennel for you, and columbines; there's rue for you, and here's some for me; we may call it herb of grace o' Sundays. O, you must wear your rue with a difference.

–William Shakespeare, Hamlet

I visit her grave as often as I can. I leave bouquets of rosemary and rue, and I tell her that I'm sorry, and I promise her that next time, I'll do better. Next time someone makes me a hero, I'll save them.

Toby

Synopsis[]

Author's Description[]

Meet Toby...

October "Toby" Day is a former street kid and half-breed Daoine Sidhe who's practically made a career out of running away from things. She was raised in the Summerlands, last of the true fae realms, only to flee to the mortal world when she was a teenager, looking for a life she could call her own. For a while, it looked like she might even succeed. She found a place in the service of a local Duke, earned her position as a knight errant, fell in love, and thought the running was over.

She was wrong.

All too soon, all she wanted was the opportunity to run away from everything and fade into obscurity. Unfortunately for Toby, life is rarely simple for changelings, and her own talent for complicating things makes it impossible for her to disappear into the shadows. It probably doesn't help that she attracts trouble the way that candles attract moths, or that she's somehow managed to catch the eye of some of the most powerful people in the Kingdom of the Mists...[1]

Back Cover[]

The world of Faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival—but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October "Toby" Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating into a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas.

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby is forced to resume her old position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery...before the curse catches up with her.

Plot[]

Prologue: June 9, 1995

Half-fae changeling October Daye is on a stakeout for her private investigator / knight errant job when she gets a call from her human boyfriend Cliff and Gillian. Simon Torquill appears and Toby follows him to the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park in the hopes of locating the missing Luna and Rayseline Torquill. Simon meets up with Oleander, then turns Toby into a fish when he catches her spying. She is kicked into the koi ponds where she and Lily are trapped and forgotten for fourteen years.

Chapter 1-2: December 23, 2009

Toby regains her true form and seeks help from her longtime friend Evening Winterrose to set up a new human identity. She rejects most of Faerie including Sylvester and her changeling friends Mitch, Stacy, and Kerry, choosing instead to work at Safeway and occasionally offer toothpicks as aid in the local pixies’ territory wars.  When Mitch visits the store, she pretends not to know him even though Gillian and his daughter Cassandra used to be playmates.

While heading home from a work shift, Toby is caught by the dawn and her human illusions are forcibly stripped away. Tybalt appears while she recovers from the pain of the magic, and they banter before going their separate ways. She arrives home to find a page of Duke Sylvester’s service waiting with a message, but she refuses to hear it as she has refused all the other messages.

Toby dreams about her mother Amandine, who had been married to Toby’s human father until Toby’s Changeling’s Choice, administered by Sylvester, forced mother and daughter back to the Summerlands. She also dreams of the day she escaped the koi pond and sought Evening’s help to get back on her feet, even as Cliff and Gillian rejected her for abandoning them for fourteen years.

Chapter 3-4: Awoken by her cats Cagney and Lacey, Toby listens to several increasingly frantic voicemails from Evening which culminate in Evening binding Toby to find Evening’s killer right before Toby hears Evening get murdered over the line. Toby drives to Evening’s apartment where she magics the human police into believing she belongs there. She finds splatters of Evening’s blood and the human-like corpse left by the night-haunts. She uses her Daoine Sidhe abilities to taste the blood and relive Evening’s final moments, learning that unidentified attackers killed her with iron bullets.

Chapter 5-7: Toby travels to the Court of the Queen of the Mists to announce the death using the fae’s formal customs, but the semi-mad Queen refuses to believe her. Next Toby goes to Home, an underground community of Changelings led by Devin, who had given refuge to Toby as a teenager after she ran away from Amandine and the Summerlands. Toby confronts teenagers Dare and Manuel before they allow her to see Devin. She recalls her own time as Devin’s lover and lackey, and how she and Devin had argued when Toby started dating Cliff and became pregnant with Gillian. In the present, Devin insists that he would have helped Toby after her return from the pond if Toby had allowed it. He explains that Evening was a benefactor for Home, and he pledges Home’s resources to helping Toby find her killer. In exchange, Toby will be in his debt. Devin encourages her to break ties with Sylvester, since although she won’t talk to Sylvester she is still his sworn knight, but she refuses.

Chapter 8-10: On the way home, Toby encounters a rose goblin who gives her an unmarked key. Evening’s binding tells Toby that the key is important, so Toby next heads to Evening’s mortal place of business, Third Road Enterprises. The binding tells her that the key will “open the way into Goldengreen,” Evening’s knowe. Using the key at the mortal business gives Toby access to the offices and leads her to a hidden hope chest. Toby recognizes that she must hide it, so she makes a bargain with Tybalt to keep it safe. He refuses at first, telling her to take it to the Queen or the Tea Gardens, but then accepts it and puts Toby in his debt.

Chapter 11-12: Although she is exhausted, Evening’s binding uses increasingly painful means to urge Toby to keep hunting the truth. Toby visits Shadowed Hills to inform the Torquills of Evening’s death and to ask for help. She recalls that Sylvester went mad when Luna, Raysel, and Toby all disappeared, and only snapped out of it when his wife and daughter returned to him. Toby’s magical abilities are tested by a footman who makes her design a court outfit with her magic, which adds to her magic burn. Quentin, the page who visited her home earlier, announces her to the Torquills. Sylvester is delighted to see her but shocked by the news of Evening, and more shocked by Toby’s binding to find the killer. As the Torquills mourn Evening’s death, Toby flees to the rose gardens and is followed by Connor, who attempts to make small talk with her but is clearly unhappy in his politically arranged marriage to Rayseline.

Chapter 13: Quentin finds Toby after Connor leaves, and she learns that he is in blind fosterage to Shadowed Hills. She tries to relax his pureblood prejudices and formal mannerisms, and they agree to hang out after things calm down. Sylvester and Luna are upset that Toby indebted herself to Home on her quest, and they reiterate her welcome at Shadowed Hills. She promises to stay in touch.

Chapter 14-16: On her way home, Toby realizes someone is in the car with her and she drives manically to keep them off-kilter. The intruder shoots her with iron and she flees the car, escaping on a city bus that takes her to Golden Gate Park. She tricks the Tea Garden’s gate attendant into letting her in and, growing increasingly weaker, she falls into a koi pond only to be rescued by Tybalt, who brings her to Lily. The Undine heals Toby, then chides her for her apparent death wish before sending her off with Julie and Ross as escorts. The trio are attacked en route to the taxi and Ross is killed. Tybalt kills the attacker and claims he helped so he won’t be stuck with the hope chest.

Chapter 17: Toby is driven home by Danny to find Devin waiting on her doorstep. Devin administers to Toby’s latest wounds and they sleep together, Devin trying to convince her to give up her hunt. 

Chapter 18: Toby is fired from Safeway for being no call-no show. She can’t make herself care given everything going on. A doppleganger posing as Gillian visits and attacks Toby, who wants to believe her daughter is ready to make amends. Dare and Manuel come to the rescue and Dare kills the doppleganger with her silver knife, but in the attack Toby is yet again injured. 

Chapter 19-20:They take her to Home, where Devin yells at the kids for slacking on guard duty. He tries to persuade Toby to give up her hunt for Evening’s killer, which she physically cannot do even if she wanted to. Dare asks how Toby met Devin, and Toby recalls how he rescued her from the streets as a teenager. She encourages Dare to break free of Devin, but Dare brushes her off. Devin tells Toby that he will send word to Sylvester that she is safe. Toby learns that Devin called in a favor from the Luidaeg to heal her. 

Chapter 21: Toby, Manuel, and Dare head to Goldengreen to investigate further. She runs into Connor, who was sent by Sylvester, and discovers that Devin lied about updating the Duke. She makes Connor cut himself to prove he is not another doppelganger, identifying him by the scent of his blood and magic. Toby suggests that Raysel might be the killer, and they again acknowledge their mutual attraction even though Toby refuses to let Connor cheat on Raysel. They realize they are not alone in Goldengreen, and in fleeing they accidentally jump off a cliff into the ocean. Connor uses his selkie abilities to rescue Toby from panic-drowning as she flashes back to the pond. 

Chapter 22: Dare and Manuel find them on the shore and they return to Shadowed Hills. Luna agrees to give the teens sanctuary. She also recognizes that Toby has been healed by the Luidaeg and tells Toby she must visit the Luidaeg to learn how to escape Evening’s binding. The rose goblin shows her the way. 

Chapter 23: The Luidaeg introduces herself, shows Toby a vision of Maeve’s Firstborn, and identifies herself as one of them. Toby barters Evening’s key for the answers to her questions. She learns that hope chests can turn changelings fully human and that Devin has future plans for Toby. Toby does not ask her final question, which leaves the Luidaeg furiously in her debt.

Chapter 24: Back at home, Toby names the rose goblin Spike; the cats have warily accepted its presence. Toby asks Cagney and Lacey to bring her to Tybalt, being his subjects, and they grudgingly take her to the Court of Cats. She asks Tybalt for the bloody shirt he had worn at the park, and Julie attacks her because she blames Toby for Ross’s death. Tybalt asserts dominance over Julie, gives Toby the shirt, and tells Toby to leave as Julie continues to struggle. 

Chapter 26: Toby seeks Lily’s help to reawaken the blood on Tybalt’s shirt. Lily tries unsuccessfully to dissuade Toby from riding the blood, and Toby learns that Devin is Evening’s killer. The binding nearly lulls Toby into a peaceful death, but Lily snaps her out of it. Danny takes Toby to Home where she confronts Devin. He says he killed Evening so he could use the hope chest to become a pureblood. He wishes Toby had come back to him, then orders Manuel to shoot her. Manuel hesitates and he, Dare, Devin, and Toby fight. Devin kills Dare. Manuel kills Devin. 

Chapter 27: Sylvester and Shadowed Hills arrive for cleanup. Dare is buried. The hope chest is returned to the Queen, who is now in Toby’s debt. Toby accepts her place in the world of the fae.

Characters[]

Major[]

Allies[]

Antagonists[]

Minor[]

Mentioned[]

Places[]

Continuity[]

Debts[]

  • Toby owes Tybalt a debt for hiding the hope chest.
  • Toby owes Devin for helping her track down Evening’s killer. Devin dies with the debt unpaid.
  • Devin settles an old debt with the Luidaeg to heal Toby.
  • The Luidaeg owes Toby the debt of the honest answer to one question.
  • The Queen of the Mists owes Toby for giving her the hope chest.

Current Book[]

  • One of Toby's Safeway customers has black, curly hair; when Toby meets the Luidaeg, the sea witch says she never got her reciept.
  • In 1995, Toby refuses to get a cell phone. The trend continues after her return in 2009. She also likes oldies radio stations.
  • The Queen of the Mists tends to redress Toby in more courtly attire.
  • Toby's car is destroyed when she flees from her backseat attacker. It won't be the last.[2]
  • Toby is fond of pixies and helps them when she can.

Future Books[]

MAJOR SPOILERS!

Quotes[]

Cultural References[]

  • "Rosemary and Rue" - The Winter's Tale
    • Rosemary is an herb of remembrance. Rue, or "herb-of-grace," is an antidote to snake-bites when combined with oleander. It is toxic and can cause blistering. Rue also means to regret.[6]
  • “I could write myself out of the play, just like Ophelia before me; it could be over.”
    • Ophelia kills herself; Toby is contemplating suicide.
  • "If there was ever a Cinderella, her glass slippers shattered under her weight and she limped home bleeding from the ball."
    • Toby is disillusioned from traditional fairy tales; she knows the true horrors of Faerie.
  • “Call me a sucker for a man who had a great ass who knows how to bake a macaroni casserole and can tolerate six hours of Sesame Street a day.”

Concerning Toby[]

  • “My manners have always been the first thing to go when I get upset, and some people say that they stopped coming back a long time ago.​”
  • “We hated each other so well and loved each other so badly...”
  • “Past experience told me he could smell my fear; it also told me that the anger accompanying it would pretty much cover the scent. It's good to know how to compensate for your own weaknesses.​”
  • “I might regret my promises, but I keep them.”
  • “Dramatic exits are the last refuge of the infantile personality," I said. "Now drink your soda and help me think of nasty names to call her next time she shows up.”
  • “There's nothing wrong with having a few monsters in the shadows. They keep me remembering what it is that I'm walking away from.”
  • “That’s where the dreams end: with the realization that it doesn’t matter where I am, whether I think I’m a woman or a fish or something in-between. I’ve never really left the pond. I still can’t breathe.”
  • “I'm not body-shy--it's hard to grow up in the Summerlands, where clothes are solidly optional, and stay body-shy--but that doesn't mean I enjoy nudity. Naked people are, by definition, unarmed.​”
  • “I've never liked being looked at like I was a hero. I always wind up letting someone down. Sometimes I get lucky. Sometimes the only person who gets hurt is me.”
  • "Ever have one of those epiphanies that just screams you're a complete moron?"
  • "Did the prettiest little princess miss her carriage home?” -Tybalt

Concerning Humanity[]

  • “We have to burn brightly. We can’t burn forever.”
  • “Humans have always preferred to live their lives​ by daylight. I used to think it was because human beings have crappy night vision, and it wasn't until I got older and more cynical that I realized it was because they have less to be afraid of during the day.”
  • “Humanity has always had a flair for guilt by association.”
  • “It's not hard to marginalize people when they've already done it to themselves.”
  • "Power brings out the worst in almost everyone.”
  • “Rose goblins are built like porcupines - if you rub them the right way, you don't have to worry about the spines. They're sort of like people in that regard, too.​”
  • “We came here because no place would take us after our momma died. They all said go away, come back when you're older, when you know better, when you've learned. Only no one wants to teach how to be older or to know better - not even Devin. They just teach us how to be broken.” -Dare and Manuel

Concerning Fate[]

  • “Time never runs backward when I need it to. Not for me, and not for anyone else.”
  • “Never tempt fate. It plays for keeps.”
  • “But sometimes the pieces fall together the way they want to, and you can't change the story; all you can do is try to ride it out.”

Concerning Cats[]

  • “When Rome burned, the emperor's cats still expected to be fed on time.”
  • “Most cats don't like water, and despite her pretensions of tigerhood, Julie was no different. Yes, tigers have stripes; so do tabbies. If you want to know the difference, try tossing one of each into your swimming pool. Then I would recommend running.”
  • “I only looked when I was sure he couldn't see me. Some games are too dangerous to play.”
  • "Dawn comes, the moon rises, and Tybalt hates me.”

Miscellaneous[]

  • “Promises bind our kind as surely as iron chains or ropes of human hair. The fae never swear by anything we don't believe in. We don't ask for thanks and we don't offer them; no promises, no regrets, no chains. No lies.”
  • "If anything attacked us, we could just panic at it until it went away.”
  • “Some people live where they work. Others just visit.​”
  • “Changing clothes in a public restroom is an acquired skill, one that becomes an art when the bathroom floor hasn't been washed in a decade or more.”
  • “I love you more than fairy tales.”

Publication Information[]

Rosemary and Rue was first released as a mass-market paperback by DAW in 2009. The UK edition was released in 2015 by Corsair. DAW reissued Rosemary and Rue in hardcover for the the 10th anniversary edition, which includes the exclusive novella Strangers in Court.


The book has been translated into German, French, and Russian.[1] The German title is "Winterfluch," or "Winter's Curse."[7] The French title is "La Malédiction de la rose," or "The Rose's Curse."


McGuire first drafted the story in 1996 as a 14-page short story titled "Of Koi Fish and October Dayes." In the year since its initial publication, she has apologized for the ablest language in Rosemary and Rue but was unable to revise it for the 10th anniversary edition.[8]

References[]

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