Published March 1, 2022
No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. The scent of damp earth curls into her nose when she sings and moss creeps across the stage. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her. But Emeline has no patience for silly superstitions.
When her grandfather disappears, leaving only a mysterious orb in his wake, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. She enters the forest she has spent years trying to escape, only to have Hawthorne Fell, a handsome and brooding tithe collector, try to dissuade her from searching.
Refusing to be deterred, Emeline finds herself drawn to the court of the fabled Wood King himself. She makes a deal—her voice for her grandfather’s freedom. Little does she know, she’s stumbled into the middle of a curse much bigger than herself, one that threatens the existence of this eerie world she’s trapped in, along with the devastating boy who feels so familiar.
With the help of Hawthorne—an enemy turned reluctant ally who she grows closer to each day—Emeline sets out to not only save her grandfather’s life, but to right past wrongs, and in the process, discover her true voice.
I always love reading about musicians and magical woods, and EDGEWOOD is loaded with both those things. Emmeline’s struggle for her career and her conflict about her home and the weird things her neighbors believe about the woods drew me into the story. I loved the cast of characters from the woods, too– Rook, Sable, and Hawthorne. This is the kind of story that sets itself up perfectly for fan fiction to be written about those characters. I would absolutely read that.
There were a couple of things that felt weird to me about the book, though. I guess Emmeline had to be older in order to be on her own, but the fact that she was nineteen but paired with other story elements and writing that felt definitively YA left me feeling a little off-step or something.
I also thought it was kind of weird that no one else in the woods knew who Emmeline was. Because of some other circumstances, it seemed like at least somebody would have put two and two together before she did. (Trying to avoid spoilers, sorry.)
At any rate, I liked the woods and its magic and the mystery of the curse. Overall, I’m not sorry I read the book. I think I was expecting something more like INTO THE HEARTLESS WOOD by Joanna Ruth Meyer, and it’s a different kind of story.
Recommended for Ages 16 up.
Main human characters are white. Two minor characters are lesbians.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat infrequently.
Kissing between boy and girl. A couple of scenes show explicit sex. Several scenes show nudity, sometimes for the purpose of studying drawing.
A powerful curse spreads through the forest. Magical creatures fill the woods, some intent on killing anyone they encounter. Others are shapeshifters or other magical creatures.
Situations of peril. Some battle violence. The king has a long history of executing those who do not please him.
One character is known for putting unwanted spells in the drinks of others. She spikes Emmeline’s drink at one point.
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