Winterwood — Book Review

  Author:     Shea Ernshaw
   Genre:    YA/Fantasy
   Pages:    323
   Format:   hardcover
   Rating:    
  
 
Description:
 
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.

Review

I absolutely flew through this in one sitting. I was addicted from the moment I read it. Witches? Check. Winter? Check. Magic? Check. It checked all the things I love – and I cannot even express how much I fell in love with this book! I previously read The Wicked Deep and enjoyed that one, so I assumed I would probably like this one as well – but I did not expect to like it as much as I did.

The night snow sailed down from the mountains and howled against the eaves of the old house as if through gritted teeth – cruel and baleful and full of bad omens not to be ignored.

However, this book is not going to be for everyone. There is pretty much nothing high stakes or super crazy happening in this book. It is a slow build, slow progression, slow pace, slow everything. If you do not like slow books, or if you like action, this one is not going to be for you. If you also don’t like purple or heavy prose, again, this book is not going to be for you.

The moon is whispering your secrets. It knows your darkest thoughts.

I like slow books to an extent – sometimes I feel that they can drag out too long. But Ernshaw does it so well, and partially I think it is because her writing, her characters, the flow of the events and the atmosphere make it come alive. There is nothing like a book that reads so beautifully that I can feel it in my bones. I felt this one in my bones. I absolutely adored it. In fact, I’m giving it five stars even though there was one itty bitty thing I didn’t like, but it was by no means a huge deal.

Because I am more darkness than girl. More winter shadows than August sunlight.

So as I said, I was drawn in by the writing. Ernshaw certainly created an atmosphere for this book, and it some ways it reminded me of another adult fantasy/historical fiction book I loved, The Bear and the Nightingale. To me, it felt similar in style to that. Which is to say, loved it!

I loved how everything was dished out slowly, and that you learn things as you go along, both about Oliver and Nora. There is a lot to love about Nora who is a loner, who misses her grandmother but who also longs to be part of something. I love Nora’s journey in this book, in finding herself. And while it was done subtly, I think it was done well for me.

Plus all the backstory of her ancestors? Absolutely adored those portions! I would love short stories dealing with them! I would read them in a heartbeat!

The girl with moonlight in her veins.

The little problem I mentioned earlier was the romance. I think this book could have stood very well without it for the most part, but because it wasn’t a huge portion of the book, I felt that it didn’t really undermine my five star rating.

The plot was great too – I love how things came to a head in the end, and the closure was wonderful too. I mean, yes, there was some predictability with the book, but honestly it didn’t take away my enjoyment of it at all.

I could rave about this book for days! I was absolutely enthralled with it!

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