Be careful of the dark, dark wood . . .
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 320
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy,
My Rating: ★★★★
I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
Content Warning: Death, Murder, Injury
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes. –C.S. Lewis
Shea Ernshaw has done it again. She’s captivated my senses and left me yearning for more of her magical, eerie tales. While I felt that Winterwood perhaps wasn’t as developed as the plotline in The Wicked Deep, it still left me with a sense of deep satisfaction. The ending was exactly enough, as I was totally engrossed in the atmosphere that this novel offers.
Nora Walker. The girl with moonlight in her veins.
Winterwood is the story about Nora Walker, and the ancestry of the women in her family. Even though she is the only Walker present, the representation of multiple generations of family members is palpable. I enjoyed how a “lore” was created around her family, which also spread to the reaches surrounding the town of Fir Haven.
Coupled with the lore of the Walker family, are the Wicker Woods. The woods are magical, but hostile. Only on nights of the full moon are the Walker women allowed to enter the woods while they slumber, to find lost things. It is on the night of a full moon after a terrible snow storm when Nora happens upon a boy in the woods. Having gone missing from a boys camp across the lake, his appearance in the woods is strange, as Nora knows to be in the woods is a perilous endeavor even for her.
The Wicker Woods are where old, vengeful things lurk–things much older than time itself. Things you don’t want to meet in the dark. Get in. Get the hell out.
As Nora learns more about Oliver Huntsman, the boy from the woods, the more she realizes something sinister has happened with a group of boys from the camp.
Throughout the plot’s unravelling, the reader is introduced to different ancestors of the Walker family, via entries in the family spellbook. The Walker family have a long history of oddity and dysfunction. Nora Walker doesn’t have a good relationship with her mother. Having different desires, especially in consideration to the family they come from, their relationship has always been strained. Her mother, always had a desire to leave Jackjaw Lake. Nora, did not. She’s plagued with worry of if she truly belongs in her family.
But without a nightshade, I can’t help but wonder if I’m really like any of them. If my name deserves to be listed in the spellbook among them. Or am I an imposter?
Nora shares the point-of-view of telling the story with Oliver Huntsman, a young man who has been attending the “troubled boy’s camp” on Jackjaw Lake. After Nora finds him in the woods, pieces of his memory returns to explain how he came to be in the woods, and how he’s survived them for so long. On the night of the snow storm, a boy had gone missing from the camp, and Nora believe she’s found him. But Oliver and Nora begin putting the pieces together of what truly transpired, and they both realize that there is something more sinister afoot.
I’m on my own. And in books, those with nothing to lose always become the villain. This is how their story begins–with loss and sadness that quickly turns into anger and spite and no turning back.
If you are looking for a fast-paced, quick, and immersive read, be sure to check out Winterwood. While I found the ending to be somewhat predictable, and parts of the plot underdeveloped, I really enjoyed this story overall.
Sexual content: Minimal.
Violence: Some, including death.
My Rating: ★★★★
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