Book Review: Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Title: Winterwood
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★


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.


Winterwood was a story I didn’t want to leave, one I wanted to be lost in forever. A deceivingly intricate story about love and magic. The ending left me breathless and aching for more. I loved this story about a forest witch and the boy she found in the forest of found things.

Nora was an outcast not only from society but she also felt like one in her family. She comes from a long line of Walker witches who posses a magic they call Nightshade which differs from witch to witch, it’s just their special ability. It appears the magic might have skipped a generation finally though. So while she is content not being apart of normal society, not being able to fit into her own family upsets her. I loved how sure of herself Nora was though. She knew who she was, loved and embraced it and never let anyone make her feel bad for the life she had chosen or person she was.

Oliver was such an enigma. We only get to know him in this moment in time, the winter Nora found him mysteriously in this dark and dangerous forest that can only be entered during a full moon when the trees sleep. He was this sad cinnamon roll boy with a possible sinister past that lead to this event, one he has no recollection of. The only thing missing from this book was us getting to know him more. I liked how he fit with Nora though, their moments and connections were beautiful.

The story itself contained the same beautiful and lyrical prose I’ve come to associate with Ernshaw. It’s whimsical and fits the magic she weaves into her stories. The setting of the dark and dangerous woods along a mysterious lake was ominous. A snow-blanketed world where the rules of the real world are bloated out for a while.

Ernshaw has crafted another beautiful and unforgettable story. I love the breadcrumbs she drops throughout that if you pay enough attention to, you’re able to decipher before concrete answers are given. The ending blew me away and left me wanting more. I loved Nora and Oliver’s story and it’s one I know I’ll be revisiting in the future.

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