Saturday, June 16, 2018

Summer Reading 2018 Willa of the Wood

If you loved the fantasy in Serafina, you must give Willa a try. All the magic of the forests in the Smoky Mountains along with a new protagonist to love will sweep you along like the river rapids coming off the mountains. Willa is a member of the Faeran, an old clan that live in dens deep in the mountains. Once the clan had awesome powers of woodwitchery, but it has died off until few can display any of the skills of old. Willa's grandmother has been teaching her the Faeran language, but everyone in the clan also speaks some Cherokee and English. That is a lucky thing for Willa when she runs into trouble and encounters some of the homesteaders on the slopes above Gatlinburg. 

This is a story full of the pull of tradition, the fear of strangers, and the value of love and loyalty. Mixed in with the fantasy elements are historical details such as the logging companies who clear cut much of the old growth forests in the mountains, the mix of homesteaders and Cherokee, the use of grist mills and even the importation of honeybees. Local wildlife and plants are lovingly portrayed, too.

A great mix for fans of historical fiction and fantasy, strong female protagonists, and existing Beatty connoisseurs. Strongly recommended for middle grades and up. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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