A dark and twisting tale of an isolated village in a forgotten corner of Britain, where old magic, folklore, and a curse that has echoed down throughout the centuries controls the villagers’ lives
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…
An impenetrable forest that denies entry to all but a select few. A strange and isolated village filled with quirky inhabitants whose families have lived there forever and who 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.
“I met a man made of leaves with roots for hair, who looked at me with eyes that burnt like fire.”
Reuben and his best friends, Sally, and Jack have lived their whole lives under the shadow of the Forest. As the forester’s son, only Reuben is allowed entry into it, and his friends have no idea of the existence of the girl, Sylvie, whom he has been meeting secretly in the Forest for years. But who is Sylvie, and where does she come from? Her clothes and manner suggest a time long ago, and yet she is as real to Reuben as his own family. Others are dwelling within the Forest as well, such as the mysterious Lucian who saves Reuben when he is attacked by a wild boar. He warns him that the coming of the White Hind means the time of the curse has once more come again.
“You are the forester’s boy. You must tell your father to beware. She walks the Forest, and it is time once again.”
Sally too has a secret of her own. For years she has been visiting the village witch, old Molly Mole, and has long suspected that Molly is the only one who knows the truth behind the White Hind and what lurks within the Forest. By nature, a sunny and cheerful soul, Sally is torn over her feelings for two very different men. Jolyon, Lord of the Manor, has made his intentions quite clear and Sally is overwhelmed by the status and security his attentions offer. And then there is Jack. Poor damaged Jack. Consumed by jealousy, he loves Sally with a passion that scares her with its intensity. Sally has promised both men she will make her decision at the Autumn Festival, all too aware that the curse has come once more upon the village and within a love triangle is a dangerous place to be.
“She’s come back. She walks the Forest once more, and it will happen all over again. Like the time before and the time before that, all the way back to the first time.”
Jack, meanwhile, has his own demons to fight. His mother died giving birth to him and he has been carelessly raised by a father still mourning her loss. Struggling with the black dog that sits on his shoulder, only one thing can save Jack – and that is if the love he bears for Sally is returned. The evil entity that lurks at the heart of The Forest has long beckoned to the seed of bitter darkness within the very core of Jack’s soul, despite his constant battle to suppress it. But little does Jack know that the entity has an ally within the village. Nancy Peabody, niece to the spinster ladies who run the village shop, recognises, and embraces the darkness and works to tempt Jack over to its cause.
“He is the one I need to be completely free of this accursed Forest. But he is strong, oh so strong. Much stronger than you were, and he resists me. As long as he hopes for the love of this girl it empowers him, but, if he should discover that she loves another…”
The Forest is a dark and delicious tale of jealousy and betrayal and the bitterness that dwells at the heart of each, and every, one of us. But most of all, it is a tale about love – wonderful, painful, glorious, messy love.
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