Book Review > ‘Winterwood’ by Shea Ernshaw

Hello, my angels ~

It’s currently snowing at my uni right now and my last class of the day was cancelled. Then I remembered I had yet to write the review (or take the picture) for this book — so I ran into the woods behind my dorm, awkwardly took a picture as other people were exploring snowy trees and shit, and now I’m here, about to share my thoughts on Winterwood with you all.

The snow was fitting, don’t you think?

Page Number



YA > Fantasy; Paranormal > Witches


Be careful of the dark, dark wood…

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

For as long as there have been fairy tales, we have been warned to fear what lies within the dark, dark woods and in Winterwood, New York Times bestselling author Shea Ernshaw, shows us why.

From New York Times bestselling author of The Wicked Deep comes a haunting romance perfect for fans of Practical Magic, where dark fairy tales and enchanted folklore collide after a boy, believed to be missing, emerges from the magical woods—and falls in love with the witch determined to unravel his secrets.

Trigger Warnings?

Drowning and physical assault.

Thoughts While Reading

“Oh worm?”
“The writing is FUCKING gorgeous holy shit”
“She has a wolf?! Hell yeah!!”

“Ominous, but okay”
“Why is everything in this book so pretty??
“Is he dead?”
“That’s gonna bite you in the ass, you know that right?”
“Yeah, you probably should”
“Oh my god dude make up your mind”
“Called it”
“Thank you, I hope the same for you as well”

“My grandmother was like that — strange and beautiful, with stories resting just behind her eyelids. Stories about moonlight and riddles and catastrophes.”

— Nora Walker, page 3

Thoughts ~

Let me just start off with the writing —

It’s so ridiculously beautiful.

It’s very poetic and flowery — which I love but if you don’t, you may not like this book!

Furthermore, something that is an automatic read for me with books is when they have side stories — like the storyteller stories from the Rebel of the Sands Trilogy, the side stories from Wicked Fox, and so on — things like that!!

“I’ve always loved stories about impossible women”

— me apparently? (I don’t know I found this in my notes as a thought I wrote at page 332 but there isn’t a page 332 so that’s slightly frightening but it doesn’t matter because like,,, it’s true)

I’m so partial to bits like that and, as you’ve probably guessed, this book had them! The stories focused on the generations of Walker women and each one was more beautiful than the last — I especially loved Nora’s edition and I thought that was a perfect way to wrap up this book!

Going onto more things I love, I loved the atmosphere and the setting. I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere so having that environment, to a certain degree, was like a nice slice of my childhood for me. I read this book back in 2019 over Thanksgiving break and I wasn’t able to be with my mom but this book really helped set me at ease and offered me a sense of familiarity.

Granted, I didn’t live in the mountains where it would snow so high that you couldn’t leave, but there were places like that around me and honestly, it was close enough to remind me of my childhood home so 🤪.

Now, let’s get to the things that I didn’t necessarily love.

1. Oliver (our other main character and love interest) was lowkey annoying to me. He just made such childish decisions, but like the childish one when he’s “trying to protect” someone else by not telling them everything?? You know like that kind of thing? He did that a lot and I got more and more frustrated with him

(Though, him and Nora were kind of cute but that’s besides the point)

2. Honestly, I don’t know how much I cared for the plot outside of the Walker women — I could have spent the entire novel reading about their lives and probably would have enjoyed this book a bit more.

3. There were two big twists at the ending and I guessed one of them — but the other one completely blew me away and was a 10/10 twist.

“She was a wonder — her chin always tilted to the sky, craving the anemic glow of moonlight against her olive skin, a storm always brewing along her edges.”

— Nora Walker, page 3

The Verdict ~

All in all, I actually really enjoyed this book. It’s not my favorite thing ever, but the stories of the Walker women have a special place in my heart and are definitely going into my collection of side stories. Because of the weather outside, I’m actually debating if I want to reread this book instead of working on one of my term papers because it’s 1) a quick read and 2) atmospheric 👀👀

I think what I’m trying to say is that if you’re looking for a quick wintery or snowy read, pick this one up!

“Because I am more darkness than girl. More winter shadows than August sunlight.”

— Nora Walker, page 4

Links ~

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Chapters | Waterstones | Indiebound

“And that’s how they prefer it — to be made into legends.”

— Shea Ernshaw, page 319

That’s all for me today, angels! I hope you’re having a lovely day/night and until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

— Ash

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