by Shea Ernshaw
Published by Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 5th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, YA
Format Read: ARC, eBook
Buy on Amazon
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wicked Deep comes a haunting romance set deep in the magical snow-covered forest, where the appearance of a mysterious boy unearths secrets that awakens the enchanted, but angry, woods.
Be careful of the dark, dark wood . . .
Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.
Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.
But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Winterwood is a hauntingly beautiful story, about a young girl, her magical heritage, dark woods full of lost things, and the boy she found in said woods on the one night a month the trees don’t see everything.
“But tonight I walk without her, chasing that same moon up the same dark, frozen river – hunting for lost things inside the cold mournful forest.”
Shea Ernshaw managed to create this dark and mystical, and at times creepy, atmosphere around the plot, that drew me in from page one. Her highly descriptive writing style fits the story perfectly, painting the world in such vivid detail you can almost feel the bite of the cold on your skin and smell the woods surrounding Jackjaw lake.
We enter the story knowing very little about the circumstances that led us to our initial scene, and spend the book following our heroine Nora Walker as she slowly puts the pieces together. While the mystery was well-preserved throughout the first quarter of the book, I figured out where Shea was taking her characters long before it was officially revealed. Despite this, small twists to the story, the stories of past Walker women and Shea’s addictive writing kept me glued to my kindle until the end. And of course, I had to know if I’d guessed correctly. The ending, I have to admit, I did not see entirely coming. It was almost too good to be true, but of course, I was hopeful. I loved it.
“The air is cold and damp, and the dark makes it hard to see beyond your toes. But it always feels this way – each time colder and darker than the last.”
Looking back, the only thing I’m a bit bummed about was the missing background stories to the other characters, especially the boys. While I get that Nora’s background has priority, I would have loved to know more about the circumstances that brought the boys to the Camp for Wayward boys and their obviously complicated emotions.
I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who loves a well-written story and doesn’t mind the fact that they probably won’t feel safe in the woods ever again.
Hi! I’m Lisa. I’m twenty-three, a college student and a book lover. I spend every free minute, and most of my lectures, reading all kinds of books, which is how I ended up here. While I particularly enjoy books of the young and new adult variety, I also love historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, all things romance, and one or the other classic as well. If I’m not reading, I’m either working, sleeping, binge-watching my newest obsession on Netflix, or on my way to Starbucks, to satisfy my slight caffeine addiction.