Winterwood is like a winter dream. It’s not all iydllic. It’s one of those winter scenes where the absolute quiet becomes unnerving, where a twig snaps and your heart jumps into your throat.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
A world blanketed in white, held hostage by nature. That sentence alone sums up the atmosphere in Winterwood. While you can easily get swept away with the woods, the scent of moss, and the sound of snow crunching under your shoes, there’s a danger in each twig. From the beginning we are asked what really happened in the snow, in the fall, in the dark of the night? There is no denying that Winterwood is beautiful. It is full of gorgeous writing that is both stunning and emotional. But after finishing, I found that I craved just a bit more from the story.
Within the story there are stories and spells within the pages. Pieces of the other Walker women, their magical talents and the spells to unlock their secrets. These chapters gave Winterwood a feel of legacy. The feeling that you, and Nora, are involved in a tradition that has stretched on. And that’s part of the point, Nora is desperately seeking to connect to this history of Walker Women. Their talents. And feeling like she cannot, that the one person who believed in her, her grandmother, has left.
Winterwood has a distinct sense of eerieness. It delivers on both the level of human and nature. The woods are alive and they never forget. There’s not only a reverence, but also a feeling that you have to pay homage or suffer the consequences. At the same time, there were moments where I was more scared of the humans within the book. The woods almost have a sense of justice to it. Don’t take what doesn’t belong to you. And never disrespect. But people have these edges and unpredictability that combine with the setting of the woods to make a book I put down at dark.
Secrets come pouring out of moonlight spread on snow. We can often become immersed in a world that isn’t. A world that couldn’t be. And when we are trapped together with nature, we have to ask ourselves if we shouldn’t be more afraid of those who sleep next to us at night. What secrets do people hide when they can’t escape each other? Fear ignites in the woods that should be too damp to spark.
That being said, Winterwood is absolutely stunning. If you’re in the mood for an eerie atmospheric read that is perfect for the transition from fall to winter, then definitely pick it up. For me, the end gave me the resolution and closure I needed from the story, but the pacing almost felt too slow and then too sudden. I finished the book and I thought that was lovely and gorgeous, but it wasn’t the kind of read that I was drawn to begin all over again. However, I think you should read for yourself, because it is just pure gorgeous writing and there’s all these subtle details which are lovely.