That’s how thirteen year old Marie’s story begins in the spring of 1968. Each day her father, James, visits his wife’s empty grave, convinced she was the victim of a vicious bear attack. Marie’s memory impairment forces him to endure his grief silently, constantly reliving the horrifying incident— his wife literally torn from his daughter’s arms, with no trace of her ever found.
But this strange disappearance is only too common within the 220 square-mile tract of bewitched woodland they live next to, known locally as Spellhollow Wood— the last remaining ancient growth forest in all of North America. Even now in 2013, it is a place tucked away in obscurity.
And of course there was no bear attack. With the aid of a mysterious boy, Perion, and a homeless girl named Courinn, Marie discovers the truth about the mother she has no memory of. When she takes her first steps into the woods, Marie learns what still lurks there among its twisted branches and roots, after some three thousand years.
Kept secret for more than 40 years, this is the first account of Marie Meehanan’s incredible adventures. Now in her mid 50’s, Marie has played an instrumental role in allowing her unbelievable stories as a young teen to be told, contributing over a dozen of her own meticulous illustrations, which detail the events that occurred within the otherworldly forest she grew up among in New York State.
This novel begins with aspects of the paranormal taking the forefront, and as a lover of all things paranormal, it drew me right in. The tale actually sent chills down my spine as I began reading, and I could just imagine the scene unfolding as if I was there on the cliff overlook. And I kind of wish I was. It is an unnerving beginning, with the sudden encroaching fog and the disappearance of Marie’s mother from her grasp; Scotti does a wonderful job setting an eerie stage for the reader.
And then the novel takes a turn toward the fantastical, leaving the paranormal behind as mystical creatures—a unicorn, a reanimated knight, vampires, living trees, slaugs, and many other sinister elements—begin tracking Marie and her otherworldly friends as they attempt to find Marie’s mother and the others that have been lost along the way.
Truth be told, Spellhollow Wood is an intriguing story of adventure and friendship, a true coming of age story. Full of sinister plots, twists, and turns, it is an engaging read, and though some portions seemed a bit long in sequence for me, personally, I believe it will definitely spark the interest of any MG or YA lover of fantasy. Not only is the novel reader friendly, but it has great themes within the pages, and though some of the characters were not my favorite, many were true to life and depicted the tween mind wonderfully. If you’re a lover of all things fantasy, then I definitely recommend this novel. Three and a half stars.
I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Check out the Trailer that made this a MUST read!