OK, why this woman is not a household name in the Fantasy genre is beyond me. Her writing is AMAZING! I picked up The Ill-Made Mute (The Bitterbynde, Book 1) just because I liked the title, but I couldn’t put it down because it was so good. This is the first novel by Dart-Thornton, an Australian writer, and fortunately there are 2 more in the Bitterbynde series as well as another 4-book series (of which her U.S. publisher has chosen to only publish the first three, very annoying… and makes it hard to get a copy.) The Ill-Made Mute is the story of an orphaned, nameless, disfigured, mute child with absolutely no memory, who works as a drudge in the castle of a powerful family. The first secret of the orphan is not very well kept, but still resonates when revealed. The language is poetic and romantic, and the story (although only the first of a trilogy) is wonderfully complex and satisfying.