You Won’t Be Able To Put Down “The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy” If You Love Romance Novels


Does “The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy” by Megan Bannen have these hot traits: Fantasy? Check. Spice? Check. Romance? Double check.

I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for a good enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn, steamy fantasy romance tale. Just like a cheesy pepperoni pizza from Pizza Pizza — I just can’t get enough. That made Megan Bannen’s novel the perfect read for me.


When a friend described “The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy” by Megan Bannen to me as an “enemies to lovers who are unknowingly pen pals with each other,” I knew I had to read it.

Mercy and Hart, the main characters, despise each other. Mercy works as an undertaker in her father’s dying business, while Hart is a Marshall in the wild Tanria, killing and bringing in the bodies of drudges, aka zombies.

The drudges are just bodies possessed by lost souls. Once possessed, the bodies essentially turn into zombies. 

Hart often has to bring the bodies to Mercy’s business, making both characters miserable.

The hatred grows stronger with each interaction, and I honestly never understood why they despised each other so much. That said, their hatred is what makes the book work.

Realizing how lonely he is, Hart writes a letter to no one in particular and mails it. The letter ends up in Mercy’s hands, and I think you can see where this is going. 

Once upon a time, there were two lonely people…

The author did a good job making Hart and Mercy two very relatable characters. Both experience loneliness differently; Mercy is surrounded by a loving family but often feels alone and misunderstood. Hart, on the other hand, has pushed people away to the point that he is truly alone. 

It’s hard not to like Mercy. Her bubbly personality is contagious. Since she’s an undertaker and spends her days with dead bodies, you’d think she’d be more like Wednesday Addams. But she’s the complete opposite — her favorite color is yellow, she loves to wear fun dresses, and she’s dedicated and driven. Even in the toughest of situations, she’s bright. I respect that about her. 

Hart’s bad-boy persona is obviously a very attractive part of his character. I liked him right off the bat because although he was rough around the edges, it’s easy to see that he’s just lonely. He just wants to be loved but has his guard up so high no one can get in.

I will acknowledge that many male lead characters in romance books are often described like this, but Hart feels different. He was not only lonely but misunderstood. 

Loneliness is a feeling we all can relate to, so I found myself having sympathy for him right from the start.

One of my favorite personality traits about Hart is the fact he is a dog lover. I mean, come on, an attractive character who loves dogs? What’s not to like?

Even when he hated Mercy, he still dropped bodies off at her business just to hang out with her dog Leonard. 

In a way, Leonard is the reason this book was possible. Without Leonard, Hart wouldn’t have continued to return to her undertaking business. Does that make the dog a matchmaker and, therefore, the hero of the story? Some might say yes.

Prove me wrong. 

The book isn’t overly spicy, but it does have a few parts that might make your cheeks flush. It’s a slow burn, so don’t expect any real romance until halfway through. But trust me — it’s totally worth the wait. 

Still, the author could have spent more time world-building. I think this fantasy world had so much potential, and she could have done so much more with it.

Also, I’d love a more vivid description of Tanria. While the author described Tanria enough to trigger the reader’s imagination, I feel like she missed an opportunity to really dive into it.

My favorite part of this fantasy world Brenna has built is the talking mail delivery animals called nimkilims. 

These talking puffs of sass used to work for the Old Gods but have since been demoted to mail delivery, much to their dismay. 

But much to our amusement.

Bassareus is a foul-mouthed alcoholic rabbit with chipped teeth and an earring that delivers mail to Hart and challenges him every second he gets. Ultimately, he helps Hart break out of his shell.  

Horatio is a snooty, know-it-all owl that delivers Mercy’s mail and isn’t afraid to speak his unfiltered mind and help himself to the tip jar. 

Honestly, I’d read a book just on these two. 

Along with Bassareus and Horatio are Mercy’s Dad, Roy, her pregnant sister, Lil, her brother, Zeddie, and Hart’s apprentice Duckers. 

Honestly, these secondary characters really made the story shine. Each had their own quirks, interests, and sense of humor that kept the story rolling. 

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, and I’d give it a solid four out of five stars.

As someone who is a crier, I’m not ashamed to say I did shed some tears at the end. You know it’s a good book when it makes you feel things, and this book certainly did just that. 

My advice? Read “The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy.” Then tell me what you think.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash


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