Here is my review of The Dark Between the Trees by Fiona Barnett- a spooky gothic thriller that will resonate with anyone who has found themselves lost in the woods
1643: A small group of Parliamentarian soldiers are ambushed in an isolated part of Northern England. Their only hope for survival is to flee into the nearby Moresby Wood… unwise though that may seem. For Moresby Wood is known to be an unnatural place, the realm of witchcraft and shadows, where the devil is said to go walking by moonlight.Seventeen men enter the wood. Only two are ever seen again, and the stories they tell of what happened make no sense. Stories of shifting landscapes, of trees that appear and disappear at will… and of something else. Something dark. Something hungry.
Today, five women are headed into Moresby Wood to discover what happened to that unfortunate group of soldiers. Led by Dr Alice Christopher, an historian who has devoted her entire academic career to uncovering the secrets of Moresby Wood. Armed with metal detectors, GPS units, mobile phones and the most recent map of the area, Dr Christopher’s group enters the wood ready for anything.
Or so they think.
I enjoys walking in the North of England and I have to confess, I find walking through some of the old woods and forests a little anxiety provoking-just in case I get lost and never find my way out. So, The Dark Between the Trees by Fiona Barnett struck a note with me.
I received a copy of the book for a free and unbiased opinion
The story is told from several points of view – the group of men in 1643 and the women in the present time. The main protagonist is the historian Alice Christopher who is determined (beyond the point of obsession) to find out the truth of what happened to the men who got lost in Moresby wood.
Moresby wood which feels like a character in its own right and the author captures the that terrifying feeling of losing your bearing in a wooded area where all the trees just look the same ( and yes I speak from experience). The myths and folk tales of monsters, witches and people selling the souls to the devil all feed into the charm and mystery. The book builds a scary atmosphere with gentle, sustained dread rather than outright horror.
I found the women of this book more interesting particularly the backstories of the two academics who unfortunately must risk their lives to prove their credibility in a male dominated world. But woods treat the men and women the same with the same tragic consequences.
I felt the book ended a bit too abruptly (I would have liked a little more explanation)but also felt a little too long- there was a lot of backstory to the women that sometimes slowed the pace of the book.
But if you enjoy books with a gothic feel, lots of atmosphere and complex characters, then this is the book for you.
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