"Readers craving a witchy story full of found family, lush nature, and small-town secrets will find it utterly enchanting.” —Hester Fox, author of The Witch of Willow Hall
A lush, atmospheric tale unfolds when a young woman travels to a sleepy southern town in the Appalachian Mountains and steps into a world of hope, fate, and folk magic in this bewitching debut.
At the age of eleven, Mel Smith’s life found its purpose when she met Sarah Ross. Ten years later, Sarah’s sudden death threatens to break her. To fulfill a final promise to her best friend, Mel travels to an idyllic small town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. Yet Morgan’s Gap is more than a land of morning mists and deep forest shadows.
There are secrets that call to Mel, in the gaze of the gnarled and knowing woman everyone calls Granny, in a salvaged remedy book filled with the magic of simple mountain traditions, and in the connection she feels to the Ross homestead and the wilderness around it.
With every taste of sweet honey and tart blackberries, the wildwood twines further into Mel’s broken heart. But a threat lingers in the woods—one that may have something to do with Sarah's untimely death and that has now set its sight on Mel.
The wildwood is whispering. It has secrets to reveal—if you're willing to listen . . .
Praise for Wildwood Whispers:
"A feast for the senses. Willa Reece has written a magical, romantic tale about our essential connections to nature and to each other." —Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author
“Dark, tender, and thought-provoking, Wildwood Whispers is a beautifully woven tale of fantasy, feminism, and mystery set in rural Appalachia.”―Constance Sayers, author of A Witch in Time
"Willa Reece has perfectly infused magic, suspense, and a love of nature deep into the pages of this novel. Ultimately filled with hope, love, and the power of growth and resilience, Wildwood Whispers is a thought-provoking, memorable debut." —Heather Webber, USA Today bestselling author of Midnight at the Blackbird Café
The Appalachian Mountains are alive with magic in this folksy, feminist contemporary fantasy from Reece (Hunger, written as Barbara J. Hancock). Mel Smith grew up hard, bouncing between abusive foster homes with only Sarah Ross, her unofficially adopted sister, as a constant. When Sarah dies in a car accident that might not have been so accidental, the now 23-year-old Mel travels to Morgan's Gap, a small Virginia mountain town, to scatter Sarah's ashes in the Ross family garden. Immediately taken in by the local herbalist known as "Granny," Mel finds a home in Morgan's Gap, discovering a surprising connection with both mysterious local biologist Jacob Walker and the woods on the edge of town. But there's darkness lurking beneath the town's fa ade. When an oppressive cult called The Sect and the town's bullying mayor threaten the peace Mel has finally found, she must learn to harness her burgeoning druidic power to fight back. Though the pace drags a little in the middle, Mel's story is full of human compassion and animal wisdom that will charm readers. This works both as a contemporary fairy tale and a slow-burning romance and fans of both genres will appreciate this walk through the wild woods.