What I’m Reading Now: Silver in the Wood

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.

What I’m reading is actually “what I read a couple of weeks go before book release gremlins at my brain”. Really, you did not deserve having to wait to hear about Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh– so let me rectify that right now!

Do you like Victorian settings? Murky woods? Taciturn Hagrid-type forest gentlemen with hearts of gold? Pretty gentlemen who won’t take a hint about not showing up and investigating all sorts of magic shenanigans? And then their mom comes to get them because they are not actually very good at magic shenanigans? Then you might like Silver in the Wood.

If I had to sum up the experience of reading Silver in the Wood, it’s tempting to go with “fairy tale”, but I actually don’t think that’s most accurate–if I’m really drilling down I think it’s much closer to one of the old ballads where somebody inevitably gets murdered.

Because there’s murder and dark things in the woods, too. This is not careless cavorting in Arcadia. These are woods where very old, very dark things wait, consuming people who come too close. It’s a short book, and Tesh has said that it was drawn from a more modern mythos (the Green Man is a relatively recent invention), but it has the feel of being something very old, and it’s completely immersive. I couldn’t wait to find out how things turned out.

That’s not to say that the mythos is the main reason to read, actually. I love me a good mythos, but I started reading the book and immediately fell in love with the two main characters. Tobias is a hermit with a heart of gold, and Henry Silver is adorable, if slightly infuriating. I was deeply invested in their story, and the fact that Silver’s exasperated mother was the one to come striding onstage to remind everyone to carry silver bullets was just the icing on the cake. If you’ve ever spent an afternoon dreaming over the poem The Highwayman or listening to old murder ballads, then I highly recommend you check out this book. It’s the perfect indulgence, and I can’t wait until the weather turns cool here and I can curl up with a cup of tea and read it again properly.

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