Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh is the first book in a lush and mossy duology surrounding the Wild Man of Greenhollow Wood.
Tobias Finch lives hidden away in Greenhollow Wood. He has his quiet existence with his cat and his dryads in his secret cottage. He’s not a people person and he keeps to himself – which is simple considering he can refocus the woods around him to keep people away.
But Greenhollow Hall and the surrounding lands have a new owner: Henry Silver. Henry is curious and starts to spend more and more time with Tobias, searching for answers to local myths. Questions that would best be left unanswered lest they reveal the dark heart at the centre of the Wood.
While I did enjoy the plot and the mythology, overall Silver in the Wood fell somewhat flat for me. I liked Tobias and his quiet methodicalness. But, I also didn’t feel particularly connected with him. I felt especially disconnected from Henry. I had not even noticed the romance developing between them. The book has a romance, I knew that, I mean, that was the point of reading it. But, I just felt like Tesh never delivered enough depth from the characters to make the romance feel believable. However, I also didn’t really enjoy Henry as a character, inquisitiveness aside. He’s clever and curious, but I felt like we only saw the surface of his character.
I really enjoyed the supernatural elements and I would read five books about briar. I loved the way that Tesh wove the events of the story into the local mythology.
But, at the plot’s climax, there is a point where Tobias realizes that he loves Henry. I felt like his feelings came out of nowhere. It didn’t feel like it had really built to that point. I’ve read plenty of queer books where the romance is nearly undetectable, and they hit harder than Silver in the Wood. I can’t really pinpoint exactly why I felt like this. But, I felt like we missed out on any real build up of feelings between the two characters. It just sort of happened.
Would I recommend it? Sure. Silver in the Wood and a quick and mostly enjoyable read. I enjoyed the sequel a bit more, so it might be worth reading for that.