Book Review: Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology Book 1) by Emily Tesh [+ Audiobook]


Rumors say a Wild Man lives in the woods, but most don't know the truth about Tobias's connection to the place. When a young man named Henry shows up and gets tangled up with something dark from Tobias's past, Tobias will have to decide how much he's willing to give up for Henry's safety.

*This review was originally posted on 6/7/19 and has been reposted to add an update.*

Book Review: Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, fairy tales and folklore, lgbt+
Title: Silver in the Wood
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 73
My Rating: 4 Stars


*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

I liked certain elements of this novella, but others just didn’t work for me.

I think this was just too short for anything to be very developed or for me to feel any connection to or between the characters. It’s not that novellas can’t be good, just that maybe this particular idea needed a longer book. The main character (Tobias) didn’t have much personality, the two characters hardly interacted much on-page, a lot of things weren’t explained, I was just kinda told that some things happened, and then the book was over. I felt very distanced from all of it. It was almost like a fairy tale though, now that I think about it, and maybe that was the point.

I liked the myth/folklore/fantasy element though. Tobias had an interesting connection to the woods. I also enjoyed learning the story behind the woods and Tobias and some of the supernatural stuff as it was given to the reader bit by bit. There was a dryad in the book too, and I think she was my favorite character. She was so sweet and protective.

This story had a good idea, but ultimately the execution just wasn’t right for me. Others may enjoy it more though, especially those who enjoy fairy tales, soft and somewhat open-ended romance, and woodsy magic.

*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 1st read.*

2nd Read Update:
I’m adding an update because I listened to the audiobook, and it actually made the book more enjoyable for me! I think hearing the story aloud helped because of how fairytale-like it is and because the narrator, Matthew Lloyd Davies, did a wonderful job. His way of speaking sounded natural and engaging. He gave each character a voice that suited them perfectly and made it easy to tell them apart. He brought more life to the characters and the story and captured its ethereal, fairytale feel. I still feel like my complaints are valid, but I didn’t really notice them this time. I feel like I had the right expectations about what the author was going for, and the audio gave everything more depth and made me feel closer to the story, and I liked it.

To be honest, I was originally going to rate both books in this series slightly lower, but then, as some days went by after finishing, I was still kinda thinking about them. I wanted more. Not in the sense that they felt incomplete or lacking, just in the sense that I enjoyed them and therefore wanted more about these characters, or even just more books with this feel to them. I think it was the combo of both the stories and the audio narration that really did it for me. Listening to these was comforting. It was like someone was reading me a bedtime story.

Also, I now realize this is part of a series (that wasn’t clear when it was first published), so the romance isn’t quite so open-ended.

Anyway, I recommend trying the audio for this one if you’re interested in it!

Reread Ratings:
3 Stars (1st Read – 2019)
4 Stars (2nd Read – 2020)


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  1. Anne Clarence

    A shorter story can be fun to read because of how quick it is (less work), but that also meant that there’s a risk of underdevelopment. Were there any other shorter works that you actually enjoyed?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I agree completely! I know there must have been, but I can’t seem to think of any right now except for this one series of fun m/m Christmas novellas I read one year by Charlie Cochet. And American Hippo by Sarah Gailey is a full book but it’s kind of two novellas put together.

  2. Olivia Roach

    I like a good fairytale! To me it sounds like this one suffers from something I worry every novella I read will be plagued with — being too short. It takes a lot of talent and careful planning for a story to be short and concise, but still wholesome. It sounds like this one fell short of that a bit :/

    1. Kristen Burns

      It does seem difficult to write a story that packs a punch but is on the shorter side. This one did fall for short for me, but idk, I’ve seen other people loving it, so I guess it’s all just personal taste.

  3. Jamie

    I remember seeing this book cover not long ago and thinking it was eye catching. I like novellas but the synopsis seemed so vague, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. I’m sorry this short didn’t work for you, while I like shorter form books I can definitely say that there is a certain art in telling a story in that small of a page count. Thank you for sharing your review!