Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Woods - Vanessa Savage

Two girls went in. Only one came out." That tagline is on the cover of Vanessa Savage's new book The Woods. And it opens up lots of paths that a story could take....

The two girls were actually sisters - Tess and Bella. They were found in the woods - Tess unconscious and Bella was dead. Tess has no memory of what happened - then or now, ten years on. She moved to the city and rarely ventures back home. It is only when her stepmother Julia is dying that she goes home to help her father. Well, that and the chance to escape the bit of trouble she's having at work.

Tess is a decidedly unreliable narrator. She has no memories of the past and she often can't tell if the ones she does have are reality. Now, I felt like I should be on her side - she's suffered many losses over the years. But, there's just something about her I didn't like. Her thinking is sometimes skewed and her actions are just a step off. More in some cases. Upon arriving at her childhood home, she discovers that Julia's sons have arrived as well, bringing with them two others that were part of Bella's circle of friends. Savage does a great job of creating some truly odious characters. Their actions and dialogue had me questioning everything. As the past is relived through Tess's memories and present day interactions, the reader will be hard pressed to decide who is telling the truth, who is lying and what actually happened that day in the woods. Everyone is a suspect over the course of the book. 

The plot is one I've read before in various forms, but Savage does a good job putting her own spin on things. The relationships between the characters was very well done. And Tess's mental confusion as well. The final whodunit was as I suspected, but I still enjoyed the journey there. See for yourself - read an excerpt of The Woods.


Icewineanne said...

Terrific review Luanne!
Sounds like this was one was a puzzler except for maybe the ending.

Kay said...

I read your thoughts here and then checked my library and found both the e-book and audio. Checked out both. Sounds like one I'll enjoy on my walks and in between. LOL

Luanne said...

You're exactly right Icewineanne!

Kay I listened to a sample and think the reader's quite good.