I read this book curled up on my chair in a big sweater with a blanket and pot of tea, and I think that’s exactly how this book was meant to be read. The story is quiet yet immersive and is the perfect read for the time between autumn and winter.
I received an ARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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.
The ending of this book, seriously. I was really undecided about how I felt toward this book until the very end, it was amazing.
The beginning of the book hooked be right away, the plot and setting helped me stay interested, and the twists kept me turning the pages. The writing style is unique and didn’t always click with me but it complements the story so perfectly.
The plot is a bit twisted but basically boils down to solving the mystery of the missing boy. Oh, there’s also a camp of boys who don’t have any other homes. And also witches. And a forest that might come to life. And a bottomless lake. And a storm that has cut these people off from the rest of society. And possibly a murder.
Sounds totally boring, right?
You can see how I was immediately drawn into this unreliably-narrated tale of an isolated, enchanting, and dangerous place. I’m usually someone who needs more than an atmospheric setting and strong writing style to drive the story, but in this case it was enough to hook me. I never felt any strong connection to the characters but it was alright because everything just worked so perfectly together to continue driving the story forward and keep me turning the pages.
Granted, there were times where the repetitive and slow writing bored me because I’m not used to it, but it turned out to be well worth the intense buildup.
I would definitely recommend reading this book when you’re feeling a little witchy, when the days get colder and the nights get longer, and when you want to be surprised.