I received a digital arc of In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt in exchange for an honest review. It will be on shelves on 10/16 so you don’t have to wait long to add it to your Halloween TBR, which I highly recommend you do. This is a twisted, and mysterious dark fantasy. It’s loaded with references to mythic tales of fae, witches, and things that go bump in the night. It gave me nightmares. Read on to learn more about why I loved it!
Click here to read the Synopsis!
“Once upon a time there was and there wasn’t a woman who went to the woods.”
In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she’s been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then everything changes.
On a journey that will take her through dark woods full of almost-human wolves, through a deep well wet with the screams of men, and on a living ship made of human bones, our heroine may find that the evil she flees has been inside her all along. The eerie, disturbing story of one of our perennial fascinations–witchcraft in colonial America–In the House in the Dark of the Woods is a novel of psychological horror and suspense told in Laird Hunt’s characteristically lyrical prose style. It is the story of a bewitching, a betrayal, a master huntress and her quarry. It is a story of anger, of evil, of hatred and of redemption. It is the story of a haunting, a story that makes up the bedrock of American mythology, but told in a vivid way you will never forget.
A book of American mythology is the perfect way to sum up this dark and frankly kind of messed up story. I promise I mean that lovingly. Immediately I was reminded of one of my all-time favorite animated shows, Over the Garden Wall. You can watch the whole show in about 1.5 hours, and it’s all on Hulu. I recommend you check it out with your whole family this Halloween.
The main character in In the House finds herself lost in the woods and has to contend with several strange people and occurrences on her journey home. Her journey was terrifying, but still fun in some ways. The exposition in the story comes through in small pieces from beginning to end. Just when you think you have everything figured out, a new piece of information throws a wrench into the gears. This forced me to re-evaluate my feelings toward each character at various points in the story, which was really interesting.
There are some big themes in this book as well, and I found myself ruminating on my relationship with my mom a lot. There is a focus on what we inherit from those we encounter, whether we want to or not. Watching various characters deal with that struggle in different ways kept me interested in the story. Honestly, I think it could have used another 50 pages or so, but I was captivated throughout.
If you love dark witchy books with roots in fae mythology I would highly recommend this poetic and nightmare-inducing read. Maybe don’t make my mistake, and read it with all the lights on.
Let me know some of your favorite scary books in the comments!