Hey everyone! This is a non-spoiler review.
Book TW: self-harm, suicide
Nate Holbrook had put his past behind him. When his friends went missing all those years ago at Lake Swart, it had been nothing more than a tragic mystery. No matter what stories they’d told each other about the “Forest Man,” there was no primeval menace lingering in that cave they found deep in the woods.
But when Nate meets up with Jennifer, a fellow Lake Swart survivor and his first love, everything changes. Finding her scarred and broken by the weight of the past, he proposes a daring remedy for their shared trauma—to return to their old summer haunt and prove the thing in the cave nothing more than a delusion and a myth.
But what if Nate is wrong?
What if the Forest Man is still waiting, after all this time, for a new friend to sing his song… to take his hand and disappear?
Firstly, I love that cover – gorgeous! Secondly, this book is written in one of my very favourite styles – alternating chapters between past and present. When done well (and it is here), that stylistic choice works so well to create mystery and tension.
This novella is the perfect storm of everything I love in a story. Past/present formatting so we get to follow dual timelines, a mysterious, supernatural hook akin to the horrors of folklore and local legend, compelling characters, and the setting of the woods.
The Forest Man is scary, and I love that there’s a question over whether or not he’s even real. I thought the author perfectly encapsulated the frustrations of children when they’re trying to communicate something to an adult, and they are simply dismissed because they’re not believed.
The characters are wonderfully depicted and realistic, and I really felt for Jennifer in particular. I didn’t put the book down even once while reading – it was too good! The atmosphere was eerie and creepy and mysterious and I really enjoyed trying to pick out details to figure out what was happening. Some of the imagery is really dark and striking, and would make wonderful, weird art.
This review is only so short because I enjoyed the novella so much that I forgot to make notes about the specifics as I was reading it. Sorry about that!
Overall, I really loved We Haunt These Woods and would definitely recommened it during these dark winter months – it’s perfect for a spooky read.
If you’d like to get yourself a copy, you can find it here:
If you’d like to learn more about Holley Cornetto, you can find her here:
If you’d like to check out the publisher, you can find them here:
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