Once upon a time there was and there wasn’t a woman who went to the woods.
In this dark fairy tale, a young woman sets off to pick berries in the depths of the forest, but can’t find her way home again. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she’s been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman who offers her help. Then everything changes.
On a journey that will take her to the depths of the witch-haunted woods, through a deep well wet with the screams of men, and on a living ship made of human bones, our heroine may find that the evil she flees has been inside her all along.
Beautiful and strange. This is one of those books you can never seem to quite get a grasp on. Page after page the story continues to slip through your fingers yet you continue to hold on to as much as you can because there is something so oddly gripping about it.
At only 210 pages this somehow felt like too long a story. The first half is quietly unsettling but you don’t know why, and it got to a point where it felt like a little bit of a drag to read.
But then, the second half opens up it’s jaws and swallows you whole. Now you come to understand (for the most part!) what you’ve been reading for so long, and why, and the pay-off is so satisfying!
Written absolutely gorgeously, you will want to devour this book over just one or two sessions. Think Grimm’s fairytales with a dash of folk-horror thrown in.
Highly recommended for readers who like the idea of a slow, disquieting folk-horror fairy tale!