a story that dances and sways like trees in the wind
silver in the wood
by emily tesh
There was a time three thousand years gone you could have walked from one end of the country to the other never leaving the shadow of the trees. “The Green Man walks the wood,” he tried explaining. “But the wood remembers.―
emily tesh, silver in the wood
“He knew it the same way the woodsman knew it, because he knew trees: but he also knew it with the knowledge of the Wild Man of Greenhallow, who felt every slow green beat of the forest’s heart.”
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.
This is a slow burn of a story. I read one of the other reviewers describe this story as having its own music. It dances and sways to its own rhythm and prose. Much like the beat of the forest, you get the sense that there is a deep thrumming that exists from page to page. It adds a deep atmospheric quality to the narrative. The only issue is that it is a very specific type of story. It has an almost misty type quality to it that is like viewing a story through a keyhole.
Tesh wove a lovely and romantic but restrained love story around the green man myth. Instead of just a myth steeped in legend, Tesh humanizes the green man with backstory. Tesh explains how the green man experience time, yet tries to humanize himself and not get lost with the woods. And how he deals with dryads and his very fun cat, Pearl.
“Tobias had thought and thought about it, for four hundred years, until he’d reached the conclusion that Fabian must have loved him, after all, in his own way. That was the worst of it. The thing that woke now every year was always glad to see him.”
I don’t think that this type of storytelling appeals to the masses. But, if you enjoy fae type quality in storytelling you will enjoy this story. It is beautifully done.
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Elizabeth Tabler runs Beforewegoblog and is constantly immersed in fantasy stories. She was at one time an architect but divides her time now between her family in Portland, Oregon, and as many book worlds as she can get her hands on. She is also a huge fan of Self Published fantasy and is on Team Qwillery as a judge for SPFBO5. You will find her with a coffee in one hand and her iPad in the other. Find her on: Goodreads / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter