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Review - The Forest (A tale of old magic) by Julia Blake

A romance to get lost in, as this magical, lusty story weaves from century to century, due to the curse of a spurned and vengeful lover.

Wykenwode is village out of time, where through the centuries, generations of friends have had their destinies forced upon them by an ancient curse. The story is told via flashbacks woven through the lives of Jack, Reuben and Sally, childhood friends who have grown into young adults with conflicting feelings for each other.

The narrative style took a bit of getting used to, but once I could see how the story was being told, I absolutely loved it. The appearance of the mythical White Hind heralds the coming of death, throwing the villagers into a state of panic. There are wonderful characters, from the taciturn widower, John Blacksmith, and dowdy Miss Violet; the comely Sally and angry, handsome Jack; decent, ruddy Rueben and the feckless Lord Jolyon. It's a rich tapestry of lives and loves amongst a secretive village seemingly untouched by the outside world.

It's a long book at 396 print pages, but if you're invested in the story, not one of those pages are unnecessary. With such a rich tale of folklore and rivalry, lust and love, there's too much to be packed in a shorter volume. It oozes sex, even though there are no overtly sexy scenes. I really rate a book which can do this, and this is superb, from the world-building to the descriptions and the characters. Living in a country village myself, the tribulations they face familiar and relatable.

The most dominant character, is the Forest itself, a dark, forbidding place full of secrets. Its hulking presence resonates throughout the book, and yet... I can't say more except the ending is sublime and ends perfectly. I'm so glad I picked up this book on impulse, as I won't forget it in a hurry.


"I met a man made of leaves with roots for hair, who looked at me with eyes that burnt like fire."

An impenetrable forest that denies entry to all but a select few. A strange and isolated village whose residents never leave. A curse that reappears every generation, leaving death and despair in its wake.

What is lurking at the heart of the Forest? When the White Hind of legend is seen, the villagers know three of its young people will be left dead, victims of a triangle of love, murder and suicide.

This time Sally, Jack and Reuben have been selected and it's their turn to be tormented by long-buried jealousies aroused by the dark entity existing within its shadowy glades. Only by confronting the Forest's secrets can they hope to break the curse and change their destinies - if they have the courage.

Keeper of secrets. Taker of souls. Defender of innocence. Existing on the very edge of believing there is the Forest. And this is its story...

A darkly delicious tale of ancient myth and forgotten lore, The Forest ~ a tale of old magic ~ will slowly entangle you in its web of a curse that echoed down through the centuries and a love that would not die.

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