Title: In the House in the Dark of the Woods
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: Oct 16, 2018
In a nutshell (Publisher):
Once upon a time there was and there wasn’t a woman who went to the woods.”
In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she’s been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then everything changes.
On a journey that will take her through dark woods full of almost-human wolves, through a deep well wet with the screams of men, and on a living ship made of human bones, our heroine may find that the evil she flees has been inside her all along.
In the House in the Dark of the Woods is a novel of psychological horror and suspense told in Laird Hunt’s characteristically lyrical prose style. It is the story of a bewitching, a betrayal, a master huntress and her quarry. It is a story of anger, of evil, of hatred and of redemption. It is the story of a haunting, a story that makes up the bedrock of American mythology, but told in a vivid way you will never forget.
Riveting! Devoured this in 2 days.
You’d first meet a woman nicknamed ‘Goody‘ who would then meet Captain Jane, Eliza and Granny Someone, all of whom were witches, although one of them will claim she was not, and that she was in the woods to save lost souls, another fed on children and another seemed not to be who she claimed to be. Then there was also a mysterious character, Red Boy, whom was feared but respected by the dwellers of the woods.
As Goody ventured deeper into the woods, she found herself subconsciously drawn to it, yet at the same time, she yearned to return home. I found that it wasn’t so much of a yearning, but more of the responsibility she felt towards her son and husband, whom she assumed were waiting for her return.
When the woods got too unbearable, Goody met Hope, whom she thought was her light at the end of the tunnel, in this case, woods, and “that even in a wood as dark as this one, there was always hope.” Was Goody right about that? I won’t reveal, in case you plan to read this book.
Then she bonded with Eliza who took Goody under her care while allowing her to recuperate (Goody hurt herself while out in the woods) in her home, even accepting her as a friend. But that changed when Goody saw what lay beneath all that kindness and beauty.
The longer Goody stayed in the woods, the stronger the pull it had on her – its mystery, its unanswered questions, the games she wanted to play, adventures that awaited her, and things she’d want to do but wouldn’t be able to if she left. At the same time, she had her life outside the woods, a much more comfortable one, where she could warm herself at her small fire and find her man and son and eat her berries together and say her prayers and live her life, easy and long. Ultimately, she had to decide – to leave the woods or to stay?
It took me awhile to get into Hart’s writing style. But once I got the hang of it, I was hooked!
The story builds slowly and gradually, but beautifully... Just be prepared though, you don’t want to be caught off guard when you find yourself in the deepest, darkest part of the woods, one that’s chilling and eerie. You’d want to be ready when you are off flying above the clouds in a boat made of human flesh and human bones, with a witch claiming to ‘have a mercy to perform‘.
The story gets darker with every page. You’ll be surrounded by screams, howls, cries so piercing you’ll have a hard time listening your thoughts.
It got so spine-chilling I wanted to leave, but I just couldn’t. I was riveted and spellbound. It also made me question, what’s good and evil? What’s right and wrong? Who and/or what defines you?
If you plan to read this book, be warned: “A woods can be a miracle of light and shadow”.
I’ll end this review with this quote,
“You see only what you wish and want”.
Thank you Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are of my own.
*Quotes included here are from an advanced readers copy and are subject to change upon final publication.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? If not, do you plan to read it?