Hello Humans! I will confess I don’t read a huge number of novellas, I’ve read a few which I absolutely loved (In the Vanishers’ Palace to name one) and I have a few that are on my ‘borrow from friends at some stage’ list. In the interests of keeping my reading fresh, I thought I’d branch out (pardon the pun) and read Silver in the Wood, a 112-page story that captivated me largely because the cover looked beautiful. Then I say a reviewer say it was gay and I was ready to read.
There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.
When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.
As happens with a lot of novellas….I wanted more of this. I wanted more of the gorgeous descriptions of the woodland, I wanted more build-up of tension between Tobias and Silver, I wanted more of a sense of how Tobias was linked to the forest, what it meant to him and so forth. But not because there wasn’t enough – just because it was so good.
Fun fact about me, I grew up with a small wood at the bottom of my garden, not enough to house a cottage but enough to feed my imagination. I have fond memories of campfires and building dens with my mum. I love woods, that sense of slipping back into somewhere wild, more untouched – it’s something that evidently captured this author also. The descriptions of the woodland and the creatures within really managed to evoke that same sense, which really is what makes this short story so special.
I particularly liked the dryads, who aren’t the main feature of this story but absolutely caught me, Bramble (a Dryad close to Tobias) made me smile on more than one occasion – I’d gladly read a book from her perspective one day.
In such a small amount of time this book manages to do quite a lot. There are a few things that arguably fall short, there isn’t really enough time to build relationships between characters and things happen more quickly than they might do otherwise – but it still feels broadly believable and through it all there is a strong current of magic, of otherworldliness that helps to indicate that you’re really supposed to suspend disbelief for this one.
There’s something special about this book. If you’re looking for a quick read with that little bit of magic and folklore I think this is a great option. I won’t say too much more though, you’ll have to read and discover it for yourself.
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Silver in the Wood is available June 18th
What say you? Which novellas are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!