Title: The Woods
Author: Vanessa Savage
Publisher: Little Brown UK
Publication Date: 23rd January 2020
There’s a lot from Tess’s childhood that she would rather forget. The family who moved next door and brought chaos to their quiet lives. The two local girls who were murdered, their killer never found. In fact, the only thing she can’t remember is the one thing she wishes she could.
Ten years ago, Tess’s older sister died. Ruled a tragic accident, the only witness was Tess herself, but she has never been able to remember what happened that night in the woods.
Now living in London, Tess has resolved to put the trauma behind her. But when an emergency call from her father forces her back to the family home, Tess discovers that, sometimes, the past cannot be laid to rest . . .
There is something that is just innately unsettling about woods, especially the spooky and dark ones so whenever I see a book where a gloomy wood plays a role I am immediately interested. The Woods follows Tess, a young woman whose sister died at age 18 in mysterious circumstances. Tess has no memory of what happened that night in the woods that lead to her sister, Bella’s, death and when she is forced to return to her childhood home she starts to remember flashes which may lead to the truth about Bella’s death. However as Tess’s mental state becomes more and more discordant, she starts to question whether she can actually trust her own mind and instincts.
From the very beginning there is a very real and potent atmosphere to this book. There’s a sense of disquiet that leaks off the pages of The Woods and into the reader’s mind. The Woods themselves are a looming presence over the story and characters and I loved that the author managed to make them almost another character in a way, like a living breathing entity. I also enjoyed the fact that for most of this book I genuinely had no idea where the plot was heading. Because Tess has very little clarity surrounding what happened to both herself and her sister and cannot trust her own mind it puts the reader kind of in the same boat. I didn’t know how many of Tess’s recollections to believe or whether her judgement was completely skewed regarding her relationships. All of this uncertainty makes for a tense and chilling read. My only small issue is that the ending felt ever so slightly rushed and I would have liked a little more understanding of the consequences of the end reveal. However, overall, I found The Woods unsettling, creepy and continuously compelling.
I received this e-arc through Netgalley. My review is my own, honest opinion.