Author: Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: November 5, 2019
My rating: ★★★★.5
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
It’s not a secret that I LOVE The Wicked Deep! That book was magically beautiful. When I saw the announcement of Shea Ernshaw’s sophomore novel, I was all sorts of excited. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy & I devoured it. It’s full of all the witchy goodness and I loved it!
Winterwood follows Nora Walker who comes from a long line of witches. Her family has always had a special connection to the nearby woods. When Oliver goes missing from camp, it is Nora that finds him in those woods. He has been gone for weeks and has no memory of what happened to him. Nora takes it upon herself to find the truth.
This book is a standalone. You do not have to read The Wicked Deep before this one. There is however a tiny hint that these two books are in the same world!
Shae Ernshaw’s writing is absolutely stunning. It’ll put a spell on you for sure. I was glued to the book from the beginning to the very last word. Just like in The Wicked Deep, Shea writes such an atmospheric and beautiful setting. You can vividly imagine walking through the woods, being by the lake and being in the Walker home.
I absolutely loved the relationship that Nora had with her grandmother. Although we do not get to meet her because reasons, she was definitely a major part of the story. You can tell that she meant everything to Nora & I could 100% relate to that. My grandma is my best friend and I honestly don’t know what I would do without her.
In between chapters we are introduced to some of the Walker women. Through entries in a spellbook we learn about the lives & powers of Nora’s family. This was one of my favorite parts of the book!
In a few other reviews that I have read, it was mentioned that Shea has changed a few things since the ARCs were printed. I do not know when or where she has stated this, but I thought I should mention it just in case. I’m not exactly sure how much will be changed in the finished copy, but I’m hoping it’s not very much!
I’ll admit that this story was a tad predictable. I guessed the big reveal pretty early on, but that didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment. I knew what happened, but learning how it happened is part of the fun of reading. There were smaller twists that I definitely didn’t see coming and those were wild.
All in all, I loved Winterwood. It was suspenseful, eerie and witchy. It is safe to say that Shea Ernshaw is an auto buy author for me. I can’t wait to see what she does next!