Review: Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1) by Emily Tesh


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.

RATING: ☆★☆★

                 “Silver in the Woods” stirred up a nest of longing inside me, and when I finished it, a wild desire gripped me to walk into the woods—to walk and walk until I found someplace quiet and silent and still where all my misery is turned into smoke, like fog wicked away by the sun.

               This is a novel that delights the senses. In vivid and mordant prose, the author writes of the sweetness of being known, of love that comes so softly, of people whose banked, quiet presence is like a palm pressed to your back, a steady pressure that dulls the edge of loneliness for a while. She writes of home and roots, and of choosing not to be anchored at all, but be borne aloft. She writes of curiosity, like an unfillable gap, a hole one could fall into and never find the bottom. She writes of monsters that watch over you, or at the very least, have not devoured you yet. She writes of stories and myths and folklore, like treasures from sunken ships the waves left behind, calling to you like a kernel of a secret. And the book seems to hum with the force of it all.

“The Green Man walks the wood,” he tried explaining. “But the wood remembers.”

               There was something not quite real about the experience of reading this book, something like a dream. The author evokes the landscape so intensely you can almost forget where you are. You can almost imagine yourself free, and walking in this world. It is sumptuous, illusory, entrancing, and the story feels alive, like it has a heartbeat of its own, secrets mortared in with the spine and the pages. I barely felt time passing, and an eerie, echoing sense of familiarity stirred in me, as if this were a world pulled from my mind and embellished by another unseen storyteller. As if I’d heard Tobias’ and Silver’s love story before and couldn’t quite recall the ending.

               “Silver in the Woods” is just a little over 100 pages, but the author draws as much blood from the story as possible. It’s elegantly understated in a way that makes you want to immediately flip back to the first page once you reach the ending. All in all, a really great novella!

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