HomeReviewsYoung AdultReview: Winterwood

Review: Winterwood


Title: Winterwood
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Page Count: 319
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Date Published: November 5, 2019
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


The woods of Fir Haven are dark, magical … wicked. Those who live in the small, isolated Mountain Village know to avoid it, but only Nora Walker – a witch from a long line of Walker witches, knows the truth as to why.

Discarded tokens, relics, and artifacts magically appear in these forests and, under the protection of the full moon, Nora is able to enter these cursed woods and collect them. On one such night she discovers the body of Oliver, a boy who went missing from the nearby all-boys boarding school camp … weeks ago.

How did he survive for weeks in the cold? What secrets is he keeping? As the small village hunkers in for a cold winter, cut off from supplies and help due to a massive blizzard, these secrets will slowly reveal themselves playing out in spectacular, eery fashion.


1. Favourite character and why? While I liked Nora and Oliver just fine, I can’t say any character really leapt off the page and connected with me.

2. World Building/Writing: This is very descriptive and atmospheric writing … (still haven’t decided if it is too much at times?) but Shea Ernshaw delivers such descriptive, vivid imagery that I genuinely found myself cold and reaching for a blanket reading these frosty passages. Everything felt dark, spooky, chilly. I could easily visualize this snowed in mountain village and the dark, creepy woods that are constantly thrumming.

3. Favourite quote/passage/scene: “ … I know what people say about me, about my faily, and their words fall like dull raindrops on my skin, never soaking in. I know what I am – and what I am not. And I don’t blame them for their curiosity. Sometimes I think it might only be envy they feel – a desire to be more than what they are. To escape the blandness of their ordinary lives.” 

4. Overall Take: There is such a quiet sadness to this novel and the descriptive writing was amazing. It does require some serious suspension of belief that in this village there really aren’t any adults around, other than the curmudgeon neighbour. Nora is really living as an orphan and for the boarding school being labeled as a “corrective behaviour” institution for wayward sons … the boys do seem to have free rein of the place, breaking into homes, having raucous parties and late night bonfires. It is spooky and chilly, but does lean to the younger side of YA. The inserts from the Walker family spell book were nice additions.

5. Rating: Middle

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