A History of Wild Places, Shea Ernshaw

Okay, wow. I’ve sat with my thoughts a few days after finishing this, and I still don’t feel ready to give this a proper review. Somewhere around the 1/3 mark of the book, I tucked into reading and forgot to make notes. What is going on in Pastoral? Is it merely a cult, or is something supernatural at play here? Do the people in Pastoral have it right? Does the world outside exist? I haven’t read other reviews as I usually do because people tend to spoil books like this, so I would recommend not reading any before reading the book.

A History of Wild Places is incredibly atmospheric. The writing draws you in from the very start, making you desperate to figure out what is going on in Pastoral. I loved the touch of psychic going on with Travis. I was annoyed when I first got into his story, and then poof, Ernshaw was like, put a pin in this. But I didn’t realize what was happening, and wow, clever, because the story unfolds in pieces, and I had no idea what was going on. It was a brilliant way to tell the story. I cannot discuss one aspect of the book that seems a little farfetched, so you have to suspend some belief when you get to that aspect. It’s a non-issue if you’re able to do that. Seriously, this is a fantastic and addicting, 5-star read. Thank you, Atria Books, for sending this along!

A History of Wild Places releases December 7th and is available for preorder on Amazon, Bookshop, and B&N.

Read this review on Goodreads and Bookbub.

About the Book:

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

Called Pastoral, this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it…he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.


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