Review of ‘Winterwood’

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
Simon Pulse
Image Credit: Goodreads

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw is an eerily magical read that warns readers to be afraid of the woods after dark, for they have their own secrets.

If there is one thing that Ernshaw excels at, it is creating an eerie atmosphere. The story opens with Nora entering the Wicker Woods under the safety of the moonlight. These are woods alive with malice in their roots. That description alone is perfect for helping to create an eerie atmosphere. Alongside Nora’s narrative, the reader is lured into the haunting story.

A compelling read, Winterwood’s sinister atmosphere, and magical edge give it substance. However, the pacing for the first third of the novel is a little slow. Focusing on developing the sinister Wicker Woods and establishing the character dynamics slows the pacing of the story. While Ernshaw does an excellent job with her characterization and building the dynamics, at times, the eeriness of the story gets a little lost.

Strong Characterization

Nevertheless, the characterization is fantastic.

Take Nora, for instance, ostracized for being a Walker, a witch, Nora keeps to herself, collecting lost things she finds in the woods. She is an introvert, perfectly happy in her loneliness, giving her a sharply defined and fierce narrative. Nora’s unique personality compels the reader by making her someone worth reading. Her voice is strong, never trembling as it keeps the reader engaged in her tone narrative. It also serves as the perfect balance for the cold and eerie atmosphere that Ernshaw has established.

Oliver also has a strong narrative, but his tone is softer. Abandoned at the camp for wayward boys, Oliver is an outcast himself as the new boy, and he keeps to himself as much as Nora. Their dynamics together bring out the best of both characters, giving the story some warmth to contrast the cold and eerie setting. Ernshaw does an excellent job of subverting the readers’ expectations by creating questions with his narrative. There is something underneath his story, something mysterious that keeps the reader on the edge, eager to discover what secrets he is hiding.

Final Thoughts

Winterwood is a novel full of surprises, bursting with magic and darkness, captivating the reader and luring them into the dark and mystical woods.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Like this review?

Don’t forget to follow Cyn’s Workshop on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Spotify | YouTubeBookBub | GoodreadsLinkedIn to stay tuned for future reviews.

Product Details:

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

Page count: 336pp

Age Range: 14 & Over

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3941-2

Publisher: Simon Pulse

List Price: $18.99



Writing Quality


Character Development


"Couldn't Put It Down"-ness


Intellectual Depth





  • Great atmosphere
  • Amazing characterization
  • Strong opening


  • Pacing is a little slow.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.