Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
Fantasy, Paranormal, 12+
Witches as presented in the masterful, creepy voice of Shea Ernshaw are earthy, lonely, and historical in their beauty. I first read The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw and was blown away by the dark way it crept under my skin and latched onto me. I fell in love.
Winterwood carries very similar vibes out of the water and into the forest, creating the perfect world for Nora Walker to continue the way all Walker women have: entering the magical forest and drawing on the special connection she has with the forest to find the things lost within it. When she comes across Oliver Huntsman in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years, she is shocked to find him alive after weeks spent missing from the Camp for Wayward Boys across the lake.
The following story blends reality with possibility in a way that has you questioning the motives of everyone. Nora finds herself searching for the answers to what happened the night of Oliver’s disappearance, but those questions won’t willingly give themselves up.
Once again, the magic in Ernshaw’s novels surprises me with its simplicity. It matches the tone and atmosphere of the novel perfectly, without being an overwhelming magic system with rules (sometimes rules are too much…magic is meant to be wild and unknown in some worlds). Wild magic that turns forests into personified beings and people into something else is unendingly fascinating. Winterwood is the perfect spooky read, winter read, or quick read. So, go ahead: dip your toes into the lake.
The end of the novel will have you craving more of Ernshaw’s haunting prose and clever, genre-bending plots. When that happens, reach for any of her other novels. The Wicked Deep will satisfy and A Wilderness of Stars will absolutely blow you away, though both are hauntingly beautiful.
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