Author: Shea Ernshaw
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Edition/Pages: Hardcover, 323 pages
I received an ARC copy of this from Simon Pulse via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Nora is the youngest Walker woman – a family of witches born from the Wicker Woods. During the full moon they can walk amongst the magical trees, collecting lost things. After a terrible snowstorm, Nora finds the body of a lost boy. The same boy who recently went missing from the all-boys reform school. Oliver should be dead. But he is alive, and has no memory of his disappearance.
But the woods are uneasy and Nora must discover the truth behind Oliver’s disappearance. Because Oliver was not the only boy to go missing the night of the storm.
“Because I am more darkness than girl. More winder shadows than August sunlight. We are the daughters of the wood”
➸ Nora Walker: Descendant of witches, No known nightshade or power, Belongs to the Wicker Woods, Desperately wants to feel connected to her family and heritage, Loner
➸ Oliver Huntsman: Attends the all-boys reform school, Went missing and found in the Wicker Woods, Missing his memories
➸ POV: 1st Person, Alternating between Nora and Oliver’s POV
➸ Content Warnings: Death of a loved one, grief, Bullying, Drowning, Forest fire
This will probably go down as one of the biggest surprises and favorite books of the year. Shea Ernshaw’s prose and ability to capture feeling and atmosphere is absolutely outstanding. I was completely swept away into this book and never wanted to return.
In 2019, I discovered my love for books inside of books and was so excited to find that there were snippets from Walker’s spellbook throughout this. It was such an amazing add to the story and loved the small glimpses into the family’s history. And the spells gave me all the Practical Magic vibes!
This was one of the most captivating and beautifully written stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I lived and breathed every single word and can’t remember the last time I was so drawn in to a story. There were times I would look up, having completely forgotten where I was. This book makes you feel winter and ice.
I loved the magic, friendship, and message of this book. And while I agree with the comments about the relationship/feelings being fast, given Nora’s ability, it made sense and actually worked for me. While I don’t think the relationship was perfectly developed, this story had so many other wonderful, captivating elements that I honestly didn’t care.
I really struggle to sum up my feelings about this book. It was a book I became so wrapped up in that it’s hard to conjure objective and coherent thoughts. If you are a fan of lyrical and atmospheric writing, magic, and whimsy, please (please) pick up this book. Shea Ernshaw is a force to be reckoned with in the slightly magical/speculative fantasy genre.