"Winterwood"

“Winterwood” is the kind of book you pick up while snowed in and won’t want to put down until the very end. It’s a perfect combination of the eerie and magical. It’s author, Shea Earnshaw, is able to meld genres in creating this wonderful book.

Set against the backdrop of a small old mining town in the mountains, the inhabitants are snowed in with no connection to the outside world. Nora Walker is one of the people who stays year round at Jackjaw Lake. Just like countless ancestors, she feels a connection with the forest surrounding the town.

The Walker’s connection is unusual though—they are claimed to have descended from the trees and are known as the town witches. But Nora is unlike her ancestors because she doesn’t seem to possess nightshade or special powers like the Walker women before her.

Nora’s story shifts when she discovers a missing boy in the malicious Wicker Woods. The woods keep lost things and Nora is one of the only people to delve into their depths and find the boy. The boy in question is Oliver Huntsman, a student at the Jackjaw Camp for Wayward boys.

Nora is floored at her discovery because Oliver has been missing in the harsh cold and snow for two weeks, only to turn up in the forest frostbitten but alive. How could he have survived? Questions pile up in Nora’s search to discover what happened the night of the storm when Oliver went missing. She also wonders how she fits into her own family history.

With “Winterwood,” Ernshaw blends fantasy with reality and makes the story of the Walker women believable. I loved the suspense she was able to create, especially with the threat of weather and the mysterious woods constantly lurking. The characters even have their own complex mysteries that needed to be solved, leaving you guessing till the end.

If you love a good mystery and a little magic this is the book for you.