- Title: Winterwood
- Author: Shea Ernshaw
- Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
- Words to describe: Moody, atmospheric, fantastical
- Publication Date: November 2019
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- Rating: 4/5 stars
A beautiful, atmospheric read, and my favorite book this month! Witchy, dark, and moody, Winterwood had all the elements I wanted this winter.
Nora Walker is a witch of the woods, from a long line of the Walker Witches. She has moonlight in her veins and a nightshade- the magic of the Walker witch lineage that is unique to each witch.
The story was a beautiful, witchy story with a dreamlike quality that imbued it with its own sort of nightshade. The story wasn’t anything unique – a young witch girl living in the woods, acting as a sort of guardian to the woods, but also separate to it. She respects these woods to be feared, but she lives in harmony alongside the trees and the lake and the plants.
But Nora’s grandmother died before she could teach her all the Walker witch ways, and her mother wants very little to do with her lineage. Nora, though, feels the moonlight pulsing strong in her body, and she loves her birthright.
“Because I am more darkness than girl. More winter shadow than August sunlight.”
Still, Nora is a witch, and the residents of Jackjaw School for Wayward Boys and the students at Nora’s school all fear and dislike her, and make fun of her. She’s a witch, and they spin all sorts of tales about her, and none are too flattering.
One day, Nora finds a boy, Oliver Huntsman, in the woods, half-frozen to death. No one should be able to enter the woods and come out of it, though, for it is an angry woods. But Oliver has. Nora takes him home to thaw out the cold in his veins, until she gets caught up in what could have been a murder of one of the Jacksaw boys.
“Locked doors are better than friends you can’t trust.”
Nora learns what her nightshade magic is, and in doing so, tries to make old wrongs right.
The writing is just beautiful in Winterwood, and is what sets it apart from other witchy stories. It’s atmospheric with an ethereal quality that drowns me in its moonlight and magic.
I loved the spells and recipes pulled from the Walker witch family book. They also have that ethereal quality that leaves me almost able to smell the honey and pine and leaves and woods that Nora so loves.
“It’s like a fairytale suspended in time-the princess forgotten, the hero eaten whole by a noble Fir goblin. The story ended, but no one remembered to burn the haunted forest to the ground.”