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In the Night Wood

Narrated by: John Banks
Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Summary

A forest. A book. A missing girl. 

Charles Hayden has been fascinated by a strange Victorian fairy tale, In the Night Wood, since he was a child. When his wife, Erin – a descendant of the author – inherits her ancestor’s house, the couple decide to make it their home. Still mourning the recent death of their daughter, they leave America behind, seeking a new beginning in the English countryside. 

But Hollow House, filled with secrets and surrounded by an ancient oak forest, is a place where the past seems very much alive. Isolated among the trees, Charles and Erin begin to feel themselves haunted - by echoes of the stories in the house’s library, by sightings of their daughter, and by something else, as old and dark as the forest around them. 

A compelling and atmospheric Gothic thriller, In the Night Wood reveals the chilling power of myth and memory.

©2019 Dale Bailey (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Every story is a ghost story, Bailey tells us. But not every ghost story is as haunting as this one. Nor as luminously written, literate, absorbing, transporting, and all-around excellent. I couldn’t put it down." (Karen Joy Fowler, best-selling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves)

"A resonant tale of literary obsession and a story of old myths rising violently to the surface of an otherwise rational world." (TOR.com)

"In the Night Wood is a wonder: literary, intriguingly supernatural, and all too human. A must read for anyone who as a child wanted to find a magic wardrobe to explore or a rabbit hole to fall down only to realize as an adult that those whimsical childhood adventures have a darker side." (Molly Tanzer, author of Creatures of Will and Temper)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Was better by the end if you had got that far!

If ever I consider myself too happy and in need of something to bring me down, I will re-listen to this book. The fact that three quarters is a detailed study into grief following the death of a child probably explains most of my statement but the main characters were both sketchily written and yet vaguely unlikeable. I persevered and the story did improve but I certainly would not recommend others to start.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

It ought to have been better

In theory this was right up my street. Gorgeous cover. Wonderful themes and subject matter. But as the late great Eric Morecambe once said, it played all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order. It really didn't hang together very well as a story and the characters were underdeveloped and well, hollow.

The cover is absolutely gorgeous.

The audio production was good in its way and quotes from the Gawain poet etc do benefit from being read. The American and Yorkshire accents were fine. But ultimately a book full of cyptograms and ciphers and an illustrated frontispiece doesn't work as a stand alone audio book. This really needs the visual accompaniment of the printed page or ebook.

Did I mention the cover is gorgeous. Three stars for that alone.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

pretty dreadful

derivative, clumsy, patronising, repetitive. all female characters are there to push the narrative of the male protagonist.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Started out promisingly but...

I bought this book as it sounded right up my street. The narration is absolutely fine, and the story isn’t awful, if a bit predictable, but I found the author’s style really off putting as the book went on. I hate books that assume the reader is stupid and has no general knowledge, or ones where the author seems to be showing off how clever or well-read they are. This book did both. I’m going to take a guess and say the author teaches English lit. That’s how this came across anyway. Bit disappointing.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Ok but not great.

Okay and not difficult to follow but also nothing outstanding. Pretty run of the mill.