TITLE: In the Night Wood
AUTHOR: Dale Bailey
DATE PUBLISHED: 2018
"In this contemporary fantasy, the grieving biographer of a Victorian fantasist finds himself slipping inexorably into the supernatural world that consumed his subject.
American Charles Hayden came to England to forget the past.
Failed father, failed husband, and failed scholar, Charles hopes to put his life back together with a biography of Caedmon Hollow, the long-dead author of a legendary Victorian children's book, In the Night Wood. But soon after settling into Hollow's remote Yorkshire home, Charles learns that the past isn't dead.
In the neighboring village, Charles meets a woman he might have loved, a child who could have been his own lost daughter, and the ghost of a self he thought he'd put behind him.
And in the primeval forest surrounding Caedmon Hollow's ancestral home, an ancient power is stirring. The horned figure of a long-forgotten king haunts Charles Hayden's dreams. And every morning the fringe of darkling trees presses closer.
Soon enough, Charles will venture into the night wood.
Soon enough he'll learn that the darkness under the trees is but a shadow of the darkness that waits inside us all."
An entertaining afternoon's diversion, provided you don't mind slow, depressing stories with limited action or plot*. A bit creepy, but the author just didn't make full use of the semi-mythological forest setting he created. The forest and Hollow House setting are pretty good, the rest not so much. The characters were bland and monotonous. No noticeable character development. Nothing really happens until the last chapter and that is somewhat vague. The idea is interesting, but the execution is off and lacks substance. Somehow the novel was just missing something. A missed opportunity.
I kept hoping the monster in the woods would eat the main character!!