Emiko Jean’s 2018 Empress of All Seasons is a standalone secondary universe fantasy.
Animal Women have a simple lifestyle: find a gullible human man, seduce him, marry him, take his possessions, and leave. Any girl children who result from the union are raised, while the useless boys are discarded.
Mari is an Animal Woman to whom fate has been unkind. Almost every Animal Woman is incredibly beautiful. Mari is not. Faced with a daughter unable to befuddle men with her looks, Mari’s mother decided to set her daughter on the path to the loftiest husband of all: an emperor.