Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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.
Note: Not a YA novella, but is suitable crossover material
Silver in the Wood brings us a story between an immortal being tied to a forest and a curious human, and fills it with a dark fairytale-like vibe, has forests that move and confuse, where there’s a cruel entity that returns every year to claim a life. Tobias Finch has been living in the woods of Greenhallow for over 400 years and he has a reputation of being the Wild Man, a fearsome witch-like creature, and he himself looks pretty intimidating with his large body and long hair. Henry Silver, the new owner of Greenhallow Hall, and thus the landlord of the region, however finds him intriguing and is interested in him, in a romantic sense. He is a folklorist who is collecting stories about and local legends, and becomes interested in the story of a previous owner who turns into the Lord of Summer; said Lord of Summer is a powerful being that Tobias can’t protect Henry from, as his power is greater than his own, and he is a figure from his past.
The story has lush descriptions of the magical forest, and an atmospheric air to the story, but it also has an uneven pacing. The story rushes forward on its speed and pulls you along, instead of letting you settle in and enjoy it, and that is perhaps the main reason why I gave it a lower rating, even if I did love many aspects of the story itself. The rushed quality made me want for more exploration of the setting and a greater investment towards the romance. It’s a nice story to read, but you don’t really get to dip into the characterization much.
Is it diverse? queer main characters; gay romance