Winterwood: ARC Review

No one creates atmosphere quite like Shea Ernshaw and her newest offering, Winterwood, is more proof of that. Winterwood is a dark, wintry mystery that will keep you reading long into the night.
Rating: 4 Stars

This ARC was sent to me by the publisher at my request. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and not influenced in any way.

Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

No one creates atmosphere quite like Shea Ernshaw and her newest offering, Winterwood, is more proof of that. Winterwood is a dark, wintry mystery that will keep you reading long into the night.

Nora Walker comes from a long line of witches you share a connection with the strange woods surrounding Fir Haven. Under the light of the full moon she can walk the woods and find lost items. This is how she stumbles upon Oliver Huntsman, a lost boy as mysterious as the woods around them. Oliver and Nora dance around each other’s secrets while trying to unravel the mystery of the other boy who went missing the same night as Oliver.

Set during a particularly brutal winter storm that strands the small town, the whole story has a claustrophobic feeling that adds to the tense mystery. Ernshaw effortlessly crafts a setting that will settle into your bones like the cold of deep winter. Interspersed throughout the book are little histories of each of the Walker women to live in the town, which adds to the sense of history.

This being a stand alone at just over 300 pages, we don’t get intense depth in all the characters, but we get what we need for the story. Nora gets the best exploration of character and I found her highly relatable. She is lonely and feels ostracized by her mother and the townsfolk. I felt for her throughout the story and watching her interact with the others in the story (especially with Suzy) was familiar.

I know that some will figure out the mystery early, but that never bothers me. I think there are a lot of small details in the final twists that are beautifully executed. Though there is a lot of repetition in the writing, I found myself deeply enthralled in the story and finished the the bulk of the story in a single day.

Winterwood is the perfect eerie mystery to read with your warmest blanket and a mug of herbal tea. Winterwood releases this Tuesday, November 5th!

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Hi there! I'm Kibby, a 30ish year old book devourer, living in Northern California! When not reading I am writing about demon hunters, rewatching Great British Bake Off and Doctor Who too much, and lamenting over the lack of appreciation for Rogue One. I am also a #bookstagrammer under the IG handle of somethingofthebook.

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