This is Shea Ernshaw’s second book, You can read my review of her first book, The Wicked Deep HERE.
I received this as an ebook from Netgalley in return for an honest review and all of these thoughts are my own.
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Rating: 3/5 Stars!
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 debated for a long time what to rate this book, I was stuck between a 3 or a 4-star review and I eventually decided to rate this book as 3 stars. It was not bad, but I was slightly disappointed. Scroll to the bottom for the tl:dr version.
The book was quick and easy to read and Ernshaw is amazing at creating a poetic, atmospheric story but I felt that was all this book was. Was poetry and atmosphere but not a lot of story or action. I was excited for this book because it was about witches and the description promised me romance and mystery, but I felt all of those things were watered down by poetry and atmosphere. There isn’t any active witchiness, it was more of the main character talking about how the women in her family were witches and about the rumors said by people about her families witchiness. There also wasn’t much of a mystery, the small mysterious element was incredibly easy to guess, and it wasn’t engaging at all. And then the romance wasn’t romantic at all. It was very much Instalove with nothing to actually build a romance between the two love interests.
At first, I was going to give the book 4 stars because I felt that it wasn’t horrible just maybe that the style of writing wasn’t for me and perhaps it was my fault for expecting differently from this author but then I revisited my review of her first book The Wicked Deep and I realized that wasn’t the case. I rated The Wicked Deep 4 stars and I remember actually enjoying it and it also having great atmosphere but was also engaging and thrilling. The Wicked Deep had a nice balance of action and atmosphere but with Winterwood I felt the focus was on the atmosphere and without a strong story, the poetic writing just became too much.
I think that if you want more of a light mystery romance story with poetic writing and an amazing fall/winter atmosphere to it, you should give it a try. If you wanted a witchy mystery, I don’t think this will satisfy you.
I also want to make a comment on the witchy aspects of the book. While there is no active witchiness, throughout the book there are short sections that give bios on some of the Walker women. The stories were interesting, and they all had very interesting “nightshades” which is like their individual power. I liked those sections, however the “spells” the book gave after those stories were all nonsense. Unless you want to avoid leaving your house for 5 day while the sun is out to help you “find your shadow.”
tl:dr: The book didn’t have a lot of substance but had beautiful atmosphere created by the poetic writing. 3 stars!
Is Winterwood on your tbr? Have you already read it? Tell me what you think in the comments!
Thanks so much for reading!