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The Greenhollow Duology #1

Silver in the Wood

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There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

112 pages, Paperback

First published June 18, 2019

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About the author

Emily Tesh

6 books932 followers
Emily Tesh is a winner of the Astounding Award and of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. She is the author of the Greenhollow Duology, which begins with Silver in the Wood and concludes with Drowned Country. Some Desperate Glory, her first novel, was released in April 2023.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,066 reviews
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews153k followers
August 24, 2022
It's not very often that I read a story and a wild desire grips me to walk into the woods, to walk and walk and walk until I find someplace quiet and silent and still where all the world can disappear, and my misery can be turned into smoke, like dawn fog wicked away by the sun. But that's exactly what Silver in the Woods accomplished for me.

Silver in the Woods is a novella that absolutely delights the senses. In sumptuous, illusory, and entrancing prose, Tesh writes of the sweetness of being known; of love that comes so softly; of people whose banked, quiet presence is like a palm pressed to your back, a steady pressure that dulls the edge of loneliness for a while. She writes of home and roots, and of choosing not to be anchored at all, but be borne aloft, free. She writes of curiosity, like an unfillable gap, a hole one could fall into and never find the bottom. She writes of monsters that watch over you, or at the very least, have not devoured you yet. She writes of stories and myths that call to you like a kernel of a secret, and become as much a part of yourself as blood and bone. And the story absolutely hums with the force of it all.

There was something not quite real about the experience of reading Silver in the Woods, something almost like a dream. Tesh evokes the landscape intensely enough to disappear the real world around you, to imagine yourself free and walking in Greenhollow. Reading this story, I felt less like a reader and more like a lost wanderer in an enchanted wood. As if I could smell the green moss drenched with rain,if I tried hard enough, feel the brush of damp leaves against my legs and the watchful gaze of a dryad, like a prickle on my skin. As if I might hear something that could be a night bird or a fairy skittering out of my path or just the loud, incessant hammering of my heart. Silver in the Woods just feels alive, like it has a heartbeat of its own, with magic mortared in with the spine and the pages.

This novella may be only a little over 100 pages, but the author draws as much blood from the story as possible. I read it in one setting and barely felt time passing. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
500 reviews61.9k followers
March 14, 2020
Oh how I wanted to love this.

Book 8 of 30 for my 30 day reading challenge!
Profile Image for Nataliya.
743 reviews11.8k followers
January 8, 2021
Novellas are tricky. Developing a world and a story in a hundred-ish pages is not an easy task unless you want to end up with either an overbloated short story or an underdeveloped anemic novel. You need just a right amount of story and plot that is both large and small enough to inhabit the short-ish length, and just enough exposition to create, but not overwhelm the atmosphere.

Silver in the Wood was enchanting and atmospheric and not a bad way for a new writer to show off her writing chops as she tells the story of a 400-year-old Wild Man in the Greenhollow Forest, guarding both the forest and the people around it; existing somewhere in the space between human and not quite human anymore, protected by a bramble dryad, easily falling into the slow green forest time - and keeping guard against the old fae evil.
“Slow and green he felt the life of it, the life that had been his life as well these four centuries past. It poured around him thick and steady, binding all together: the long patient strength of the trees that anchored, the deep bright power of the handful of dryads—Tobias felt Bramble clear as day among them, young and strong—and then the small and necessary, the bracken and ferns, the mosses and mushrooms. Here were the songbirds and ravens and solemn wide-winged owls, shy deer and burrowing rabbits, fox and badger and snake, beetles and moths and midges, all the things that were the wood, that lived each in their own way under the shelter of the old oak.”

The atmosphere is set well in a slow fairytale-like narration that gives a feel of a few hundred years spent in green forest time, a part of the slow and barely changing world of trees and brambles and eternal green fairytale existing outside of the changing world around, with ever-present melancholy loneliness all around Tobias. And that is where the strength of the story lies.
“He thought of four hundred years repairing and re-repairing that roof; of scrubbing out the floors, fixing the doors and shutters, planting and replanting his little garden. Four hundred years while his cottage grew around him like a tree growing its rings; Pearl’s mother and grandmother and great-great-great-grandmother all the way back to the cat who’d ambled around Greenhallow Hall when Fabian had been its master; four hundred years of the wood, and barely a soul passing through the whole time.”

But the world around Tobias’ wood keeps going, with the alternate-world Industrial Revolution in its swing, and one day he meets young Henry Silver, a persistent and curious folklorist and a son of a “practical folklorist” mother, and a tentative friendship with the undertones of subtle and cautious romance eventually follows. And the ancient fae evil takes notice.

And with all that the novella stumbles a bit. The story needs more room to breathe, and for the stakes to feel higher needs a bit more investment in the background story of Fabian, and the quick one-page summary of Tobias’ adventures outside of the wood feels exactly like what it’s meant to be - a quick way to say “a year later” — but also a bit of a cop-out that makes you wish for a novel unconstrained by such short length to allow the characters to grow and develop.
”The world was far bigger than Tobias remembered from four centuries ago. It was bigger than he had ever known, and he was living in it. He had thought himself a thing uprooted, like the great oak, ready to begin his death.”

Whatever it is, is needs *more*, just a bit more. More to complement the atmosphere and the loneliness and the longing. More to make it feel complete. More to add to the beautiful writing.

Apparently it is a duology, and I’m curious to see what the second part brings - new adventures, or the look into Tobias’ past, or maybe fill in the Silver-less year. I wonder what the full story will be like, and whether it will bring the feeling of completeness and development that this one is lacking a bit.

It left me therefore equally captivated and unsatisfied - a strange combination. Dripping with potential and full of gorgeous writing and imagery, quiet and sweet but dark at the edges — and a bit short on the plot and character development - but still lush and green and lovely.
”[…] he felt himself for a moment as the stump of a rotten old tree, putting up thin green shoots at strange new angles.”

3.5 stars. I may round it up eventually, depending on how the second story in the duology plays out.

My review of the sequel, Drowned Country, is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for emily .
241 reviews2,102 followers
February 3, 2021
me, crying over enchanted trees at 3am: i'm not sure i'm handling this quarantine well
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews189 followers
October 14, 2019
3.5 stars

Silver in the Wood reads like a forest fairytale. It could be seen like a loose m/m retelling of the Green Man myths, so it's fitting that this is a story about rebirth and reawakening, not only of nature after spring but of people after toxic relationships.

It's a quiet, slow story, and if at first I thought that the pacing was odd - things happen too quickly, but the book is still slow? - I realized that in a way it was a reflection of how the main character, who is part of the wood, experienced time himself.

This is also one of the best plant magic stories I've ever read. Not only it's about a vaguely creepy wood, it actually talks about which trees there are in detail - elms, oaks, and even a mention of gorse (I love gorse) - and there are scenes in which roots and vines are weapons.

What didn't work for me as much was the romance, as this is barely longer than 100 pages and the characters interact for only half of them; I thought it was cute, but I didn't feel it.

At times it reminded me a bit of Witchmark for the sweet romance between a human and a paranormal creature, at times it reminded me of Strange Grace for the isolated town in the wood and the terrible things that lurk in it, and I'd definitely recommend it to everyone who liked those books.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 58 books8,097 followers
August 14, 2019
A sweet, shortish m/m fantasy romance novella, with a folklore-ish background. Fans of T Kingfisher will like this, though it doesn't quite have the bite under the kindness that makes Kingfisher exceptional. It's a very nice read, though I have to admit the cover (and publisher) primed me to expect something a lot darker and stranger, so I felt slightly off the mark throughout, which is my problem rather than the book's. The cover is stunning, mind.
Profile Image for Charlotte Kersten.
Author 3 books430 followers
February 6, 2022
“The wood remembers.”

So What’s It About?

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

What I Thought

Silver in the Woods is a sweet, dreamy and lush little novella, like a folk tale that’s part happy and part melancholy. Atmosphere and beautiful writing are two of its greatest strengths – you can practically smell the green growing things and hear the rustle of leaves while you read. The magical woods are ancient, full of power and mystery and tales half-forgotten and I wouldn’t have minded spending a whole book exploring and wandering Greenhollow with Tobias.

He’s a rather stolid, hulking main character, a wild recluse with a painful past and a gentle heart. As I discovered with Grim in Dreamer’s Pool earlier this year, this is one of my favorite types of character and consequently I loved spending time with his ponderous thoughts and fierce protectiveness for the woods. Silver is also a lovely character with his earnestness and eager curiosity and they make a very sweet couple although I would have liked it if their relationship had had more time to develop. I also loved Silver’s tough monster-hunting mother and Tobias’ dryad friend Bramble.

I think this could be seen as a story about how damaging relationships reach out from the past to paralyze you, hurt you and scare you away from loving in the present, and Tobias’s challenge is to finally bury that past where it belongs and find a future with more hope. I’m delighted that he succeeded, and I’m equally delighted that what looked like it was going to be a case of Bury-Your-Gays ended up being a near miss with a happy ending instead.

I mentioned that I think the central romance could have been more developed, and to that I’d also add that the summary of Tobias’s time in the city with Mrs. Silver felt very, very rushed. As with each of the wonderful novellas I’ve read this year (all of them queer too), I mostly wish that the story had more space to breathe.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,655 reviews5,126 followers
December 29, 2021
Wow. Wow. I can't believe I didn't read this sooner, because once I started it, I devoured it in a single sitting. I didn't expect it to be so beautiful and so emotional. I'll review this once I can stop feeling too many things 😭
Profile Image for MJ.
369 reviews59 followers
June 18, 2019
listen. LISTEN. this book is the Book Of My Heart and i wish i could give it 6 stars because it deserves it.

in this house, we stan TWO (2) idiot morons: tobias “i’m a very, very, very tired homosexual and i just wish to rest” finch and henry “oh wow! so convenient how there’s only one bed!! have i mentioned that my resume reads ‘certified monster-fucker’? lol i love tropes!!!!!!” silver. (LEGENDS ONLY.)

this book is EVERYTHING i love about myth and faery and the power of story mixed with “okay but what if these characters acted like real people tho” — aka what DWJ did so well, and what the world has been desperately missing for almost 10 years.

i do not make the comparison lightly, but emily tesh has a way with words and characters that i haven’t seen since the death of DWJ. as someone who’s been more or less in a constant state of mourning since 2011, and has finally found someone or something that strikes the same complex and beautiful chords in my heart, i’m overjoyed by this revelation and i can’t fucking WAIT for what she does next.

by which i mean: YES there are magical powers and bargains made without all the right information and murder trees and sentient forests and sleeping powers that shouldn’t be awakened to be had here... but also there’s at least one panicked moment of “oh my GOD his MUM has just shown up, what the fuck do i do????????” and honestly... reader, i died.

there’s something so powerful in being able to put concepts like immortality and ineffability and destiny (...........and depression, lol, honestly immortality is horrifying) in painfully, brutally human terms and to examine the effects they might have on Actual People... and nobody has Done It For Me like this in years and years.

oh, also, it’s So Romantic (capitals very much intended)?!?! what the FUCK, emily??? how dare?????????

all of which is to say: do yourself a favor. buy this book, and buy at least one copy for a friend. there is literally 0 chance you’ll regret it.

(i feel obligated to note here at the end that technically i know emily and therefore there is the possibility that i am biased because it’s Good Review Etiquette, but also........................ y’all this book is so fucking good that i truly do not believe there is any bias in operation here, it’s just. so good. i would eschew most of my forever faves and take this book with me to a desert island. that’s how good it is.)
Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
682 reviews245 followers
April 15, 2021
Silver in the Wood —with its cottagecore, cat-loving man bound to a forest of magical trees— was amazing! The atmosphere in particular felt entirely tangible and lovely; I could almost believe I was experiencing the story whilst traversing the woods with Tobias and Silver.

~★~ What is this book about? ~★~

Somewhere in Greenhollow there is a cottage home to Tobias Finch, unbeknownst to the outside world as the Wild Man gracing storybooks and myths.
Tobias’ quiet life mingling with forest sprites threatens to upend when he receives a visit from Greenhollow Hall’s new owner—a curious folklorist named Henry Silver. For the first time in a very long time, Tobias discovers a human who is unafraid to love him. Eventually, though, Silver’s frequent visits lead to the unearthing of old secrets that Tobias hoped would remain permanently forgotten.


Silver in the Wood was such a charming little tale, one I never wanted to break from reading. I became instantly infatuated with Tobias’ life and narrative, especially once Silver was thrown into the mix. The two of them were both so sweet, it became impossible not to care for them after coming to know their interesting quirks and warm dialogue. I was already fond of Tobias and Silver by around page 5:

“Heaven knows what the housekeeper will think when I tell her I spent the night with the wild man in the woods.”
“She’ll have the reverend come and visit to check you over for black magic, most likely,” said Tobias.
Silver laughed as if he’d been joking.”

Yeah, I love them. It’s impressive just how much Emily Tesh was able to accomplish within a hundred page novella. Great protagonists, a strikingly beautiful atmosphere, and a delightful romance. I’m so happy to have read Silver in the Wood, I just know it’ll charm a ton of other readers out there!
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,131 reviews432 followers
March 19, 2022
3.5 Stars

Atmospheric, a bit dark, capitalizing on the folklore of the wood and why some superstitions should be held in wary careful respect to ward off those ugly things that go bump in the night.

There’s a bit of mystery here as the wood cyclically takes on a life of its own. Bridging magic and legends and curses, this starts with Tobias who’s tethered to the forest for unclear reasons except he simply knows he’s a protector. When his new inquisitive “landlord” starts to show up on a regular basis, a very slow burn connection commences. Tobias knows Henry’s just the sort of light that would attract the darkness to take Henry for its own.

So yes, danger lurks, hungrily seeking its next victim, and this is all about sacrifice, renewal, and redemption. If this sounds interesting to you, it’s currently on KU!
Profile Image for Freya Marske.
Author 13 books1,673 followers
June 20, 2019
GREEN MAN FOLKLORE, BUT MAKE IT GAY. This may not be perfect for everyone but it's damn well perfect for me: a gorgeous, subtle masterpiece of a fairytale about green woods and old evils, which also manages to be a hilarious story about what you do when your Terrible Ex and your mother-in-law both invade your lovely private house in the same week. The narrative voice is understated and wry and yet totally evocative of both magical imagery and quiet, strong, deep-running emotion.
Profile Image for ash |.
555 reviews95 followers
April 11, 2020
Silver in the Wood is a lyrical forest fairy tale; a queer love story at a little over 100 pages. Prepare to be transported into a magical realm of beautiful forest-- where you will fall in love, experience genuine kindness, and personality. It's a magical blend of fantasy elements and folklore featuring forgotten gods.

The pages are filled with a particular dark and gritty undertone that tell a story of death, rebirth, and transcendence. I couldn't shake the overwhelming sadness that chased me throughout the pages and continued to haunt my thoughts days later. I often have trouble connecting to stories that are this short. However, Emily Tesh is talented at evoking emotion and transporting the reader directly into the story with very few words. Take this line, for example:
"At once slow deep green rolled over him. He took a breath, and another, smelling old rotting leaves and healthy growth and autumn light. He felt almost as though he could have planted his feet and become a tree himself, a strong oak reaching up to the sky, brother of the old oak who ruled the wood."

I became spellbound waiting through the days in, nights out alongside Tobias. The ending was fitting and along the lines of acceptance and reinventing oneself. I am thrilled that we are getting a sequel because this is character driven, and I loved Tobias and Henry (including the cat, Pearl).
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,717 reviews858 followers
December 17, 2022
#2) Drowned Country ★★★★★

Reread #1 (Nov 2020): ★★★★★

the fact this was initially posted on a03 makes it all the better.

Original Read (Dec 2019): ★★★★☆

a lush, magical fairytale

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: Tobias (mc), Henry (li) and Fabian (sc) are achillean.

BlogTrigger Warning DatabaseStoryGraph
Profile Image for Sara.
1,080 reviews360 followers
April 10, 2023
Reread 2023. Overflowing with earthy woods and the scent of rotten leaves, the writing is just as beautifully descriptive the second time round.

3.5 stars.

An atmospheric queer retelling of the Green Man of the Woods. Tobias has lived in Greenhallow for over 400 years. He is the wild man that the village tell stories about, and he's the one who keeps the dryads in check and the ghouls down. So when Henry Silver turns up outside his cottage, soaked through, he never expects to spend his winter passing along fairy tales and falling in love. But dark secrets surround Tobias, and summer is never a good time for humans to walk the woods alone.

Fiercly rich in folklore and forestry, The Silver in the Woods oozes images of lush English landscapes and old forgotten stories. I could almost see myself alongside Tobias as he walks the forest floor, smell the damp and the rot and hear the leaves rustling as they whisper stories of old. Add in facinating characters that are immediately loveable, especially the Winters, and you're on to a winner.

I rated this down mainly due to the latter half of the plot, which starts to loose its way a little bit when Fabian is introduced. As an omnipotent threat he's menacing and malevolent, but the confrontation with him feels a little overwrought and silly. If anything, I would have forgone this section for more stories of Tobias and Mrs Winter on their travels. They're a very unlikely duo of supernatural crime fighters, and I would have devoured all of their antics.

Beautifully written, if a little too short to be fully immersive in my opinion. But these characters are wonderfully, and the setting is pitched perfectly to reflect a dream like story that brims over with ancient myth and legend.
Profile Image for Ellie.
575 reviews2,113 followers
August 22, 2020
My one especially big weakness when it comes to reading is woodsy books, and a woodsy book this was.

In England (and some other places) there's an old lore about a figure known as The Green Man, who is a forest spirit or wood deity of some form. Silver in the Wood takes this lore and puts its own lovely little spin on it. Tesh has a fluid, engaging writing style, and the woods setting was rich and evocative. Equally, so was the way reality was woven in to coexist besides the magical setting of the wood - I'm not sure when this was set (later Victorian era, perhaps?) but the wider world was so excellent. I also haven't seen any English folklore retelling for ages, and this is just a reminder of how much potential there is.

It's a novella of around 100 pages, but I do feel this book had the supporting material to have been an entire book if the author wished. (Yes . . . I would have loved to have spent more time within these pages). As it is, I read this book in one sitting. It's a quick read. I am also aware that this novella originally existed in some form as an original project posted on A03, and once again, it is confirmed that anything that was once posted on that site is excellent.

If you enjoy books such as Uprooted, The Bear & The Nightingale, The Sisters of the Winter Wood or anything with a woodsy setting, I do suggest you check this one out.

thank you to my fab friend laura for gifting this one to me!! <33 ily
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,402 reviews1,850 followers
February 17, 2020
Thank goodness for the cover reveal of book two or I don't know when I would've prioritized picking this one up.

SILVER IN THE WOOD is a slow-unfurling novella about the bargains made with old gods, the darkness of the wood, and new beginnings at the end of things. This wasn't at all what I expected — I fully thought this would be darker, edgier, and instead it was more melancholy, charming, and sweet. Nonetheless I'm still rounding up, even if my expectations weren't quite met, because I still enjoyed this so much.

We know there's more to this Wild Man in the woods than just a caretaker and Tesh cleverly tells us the story of how things came to be as the curious new-owner of Greenhollow Hall is researching local legends and myth. And it's when things go sideways, and a new character is introduced, that we somehow get a whole lot more worldbuilding that neither feels crammed down your throat or, considering the word count, too big for the story. But it's the backstory that really feels rich, twisty, and also a little sad.

This novella was perfectly paced to leave you satisfied and yet wanting to read on and my only complaint is there isn't more.. yet.

3.75 stars


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Booked and Busy.
50 reviews756 followers
January 13, 2022
This was fantastic. It was beautiful, magical, and surprisingly unexpected. I didn’t have any expectations going into this novella, but what I found was worth shouting about.

A Silver in the Wood is small quiet tale filled with magic, folklore, and the power of nature. In so few pages you grow to love and care for Henry, Tobias, and the wood itself.

I’m excited for the sequel and I can’t wait to experience more works by this author.
Profile Image for Allison Hurd.
Author 3 books695 followers
September 14, 2020
Well done. Reads very much like a fairy tale but from the other side and queer friendly. I wanted a bit more meat but I gobbled it up regardless so can't say I didn't like it.


Things to love:

-Writing. Fluid and confident.

-Tobias. What a compelling character

-The flow. If you enjoy fairy tales or folk stories, this will pull you in with its loving mimicry of that style.

-Mrs. Silver. She's a badass.

Things that left me wanting:

-Motivations. I wanted more about what made the characters tick.

-Tension. It could have used a dash more suspense.

But for quick read it was enjoyable and I'll likely be continuing on.
Profile Image for Ash | Wild Heart Reads.
244 reviews141 followers
June 14, 2020
Silver in the Wood is a lyrical dream of a book. In just over 100 pages Tesh transports you to a whole other world, where magic lives deep within the forest and other-worldly beings walk.

This was such a gorgeous little volume. I fell in love with Tesh's descriptions of Greenhollow, and Tobias. It's lush and vibrant. It's a spell that is woven around you slowly, bring you into the deep dark green.

The relationship between Tobias and Silver lovely to watch unfold. It's a subtle thing and creeps up due to it being a short story but it was done well. We also get some quality moments like Tobias having a '???...!!!' moment when he realises Silver is in his bed and wearing his clothes.

Part of me wishes it had been longer but I'm not going to hold that against it since it's a short story. So I am hoping this is not the last we'll see of Tobias, Silver and Greenhollow. And Pearl and Silver's mother of course, who are some of the best supporting characters. Get you a cat like Pearl. I would read a thousand more stories in this world.

Silver in the Wood might not be an epic novel with battles over the fate of the entire world but it's consuming, haunting and so so beautiful. If you are looking for a short read to dive into, to do away with the real world and experience a little magic then I definitely recommend Silver in the Wood.

"He knew it the same way the woodsman knew it, because he knew trees: but he also knew it with the knowledge of the Wild Man of Greenhallow, who felt every slow green beat of the forest's heart."

*I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

This review and more can be found at https://wildheartreads.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for Jennifer.
425 reviews181 followers
November 13, 2019
This is a queer little book in every sense of the word. Silver in the Wood is high on atmosphere, yet low on characterization and plot - not necessarily a criticism for a book that clocks in at just over 100 pages. I enjoyed it without feeling satisfied by it, if that makes any sense.

The story revolves around the mysterious Tobias Finch, a giant who has lived in a cottage in the woods of Greenhallow...for several centuries. His companions are a cat named Pearl, and an overprotective dryad called Bramble. His past is a delicate and best-forgotten topic; his present is occupied with the caretaking of the woods, which become a perilous place for humans in the summer. Enter human Henry Silver, the new owner of Greenhallow and an inquisitive scholar of folklore and mythology of precisely the type lurking in the woods.

Greenman and faerie lore - almost an m/m Tam Lin - are prominent in this one, but I like it best when it talks of the woods:

He knew it the same way the woodsman knew it, because he knew trees, but he also knew it with the knowledge of the Wild Man of Greenhallow, who felt every slow green beat of the forest's heart. You could cut a tree down to nothing and it'd still put out shoots in the springtime, if the roots went deep enough. The forest would feed it, the sun would wake it. And no roots were deeper than the old oak's.

The setting and buildup of the central mystery are beautifully done, and remind me of Patricia McKillip's somnambulistic fantasy forests with a little of the earthy sharpness of T. Kingsolver's writing. However, the foxtrot pacing feels off - sloooow sloooow quick quick - and the resolution comes too quickly and neatly. Tobias is a cypher as a character, an archetype more than flesh and blood, and curiously passive about all the massive changes that are happening in his life. The other characters are sketches with potential but little more. I think I actually prefer the relationship between Tobias and Henry Silver's mother to the romance (maybe more of a flirtation) between Tobias and Henry.

Perhaps this will not matter to readers who read for atmosphere, which might be the best way to approach Silver in the Wood. I do find Emily Tesh's writing lovely - evocative but concise and with an understated sense of humor - and would happily read future books by her.
Profile Image for Melanie  Brinkman.
618 reviews76 followers
May 4, 2020
What secrets lay at your roots?

Deep within Greenhollow lives Tobias. Thought by many to be a myth, a legend, he listens to the woods. A Wild Man, he lives an unremarkable existence. Dwelling with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads, evading his past life.

But then Greenhollow Hall gains a eccentric landlord, eager to learn about the odd man who lives in the woods. But Henry Silver's searches dredge of secrets that are better left buried, Tobias is force to reckon with his troubled past, both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest at its heart.

A story of fae and folklore. A tale of the woods and what lies within.

Trigger warnings for injury, violence, and death.

Quiet, gruff Tobias was a caretaker with secrets he was content to never remove from the hollows he stored them in. A man the townspeople told stories about, the old soul had long been entwind with the woods. His kind heart beat with a gentle cadence, his prowess branching out as often as necessary. Mysteriously straightforward, he was quite intriguing.

Sometimes when the wind blows, it ushers in the most wonderful things. Patient yet restless Tobias was not expecting a curious young man come stumbling into the woods. Nor was he ready for the new leaves of love to grow within his heart as he got to know the passionate storyteller. Genuinely soft, it was beautiful to watch the tender romance grow. However, I just wish there would have been a little more time to see it flourish.

From a sweet cat, to a protective dryad, to a practical folklorist, to walking evil, many brave, fiendish souls traipsed Green Hallow. Even though I wished for a bit more to the characters themselves, the unique personalities fit perfectly with and within the fantastical tale.

When we become uprooted, we must put down strong new roots. Containing exceptional nature magic, Emily Tesh's lyrically abstract prose reaches out like tree branches and draws you ever further into a fairytale esque dream. Not strange as the captivating cover lead me to believe, the novella presented me with a darkly whimsical treat. Lovely and queer, Silver in the Wood's emotionally heavy plot rushed along like a babbling brook. A story of secrets, reflection, and rebirth drew to a close with one of the most gorgeous endings I've ever read.

Creepily enchanting, Silver in the Wood shimmers.
Profile Image for Meghan.
68 reviews23 followers
July 27, 2019
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Silver in the Wood is a charming novella, filled with beautiful prose and imagery. It's a sweet, quick read and leaves you feeling happy. The characterization was done exceptionally well. You can really feel the vibes of the characters and connect with them. I think this is the only book I have ever read in which kindness is truly felt, and it gives you insight into what it means to be genuine and selfless.

Loved it.
Profile Image for Esme N.
229 reviews857 followers
July 2, 2022
“It was the middle of an autumn downpour when Tobias first met Henry Silver.”

Tobias Finch lives deep in the quiet of Greenhollow forest where he tries not to dwell on the past. When Henry Silver, a curious and clever young man, acquires Greenhollow Hall, the quiet and the secrecy Tobias clings to may soon come to an end.


First off, as someone who knew nothing about the Green Man and is completely unfamiliar with any Green Man lore which I’m told this book is a retelling of, Tobias pretty much reads as Lorax. When you tell me that he speaks for the trees, my orange friend is the blueprint.

Dr. Seuss references aside, this story was so gentle and loving and it made my heart INCREDIBLY happy. Reading it was like existing in a woodland dreamscape and even though this book does have a sequel, it was a very well-rounded story in and of itself.

Although this isn’t a fantasy romance in the way many of you folks seem to prefer, it absolutely plays out some of my favourite romance dynamics. We have the one bed trope on page 3 and the book is gay by page 5. Also, you could call this book grumpy-sunshine and absolutely not be wrong.

Emily Tesh’s writing had me weeping at every turn. Even in moments that weren’t overly emotional, there was something uniquely cutting about her prose that heightened everything I was feeling. It’s a book I will come back to again and again, but I imagine it will never be quite the same as reading it for the first time. Don’t waste that experience if you have yet to pick this one up.

Playlist in the Wood:
- The Man Who Sees Tomorrow // Uwade
- Summer Child // Conan Gray
- Anchor // Roland Faunte

“But the nonsense made it easier for Tobias to be amused by the whole thing: lying in a soft white bed, with his wood too far away, listening to old wives’ tales of himself.”
Profile Image for Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight).
884 reviews123 followers
August 25, 2020
4 Stars

*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

I liked certain elements of this novella, but others just didn’t work for me.

I think this was just too short for anything to be very developed or for me to feel any connection to or between the characters. It’s not that novellas can’t be good, just that maybe this particular idea needed a longer book. The main character (Tobias) didn’t have much personality, the two characters hardly interacted much on-page, a lot of things weren’t explained, I was just kinda told that some things happened, and then the book was over. I felt very distanced from all of it. It was almost like a fairy tale though, now that I think about it, and maybe that was the point.

I liked the myth/folklore/fantasy element though. Tobias had an interesting connection to the woods. I also enjoyed learning the story behind the woods and Tobias and some of the supernatural stuff as it was given to the reader bit by bit. There was a dryad in the book too, and I think she was my favorite character. She was so sweet and protective.

This story had a good idea, but ultimately the execution just wasn’t right for me. Others may enjoy it more though, especially those who enjoy fairy tales, soft and somewhat open-ended romance, and woodsy magic.

*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 1st read.*

2nd Read Update:
I'm adding an update because I listened to the audiobook, and it actually made the book more enjoyable for me! I think hearing the story aloud helped because of how fairytale-like it is and because the narrator, Matthew Lloyd Davies, did a wonderful job. His way of speaking sounded natural and engaging. He gave each character a voice that suited them perfectly and made it easy to tell them apart. He brought more life to the characters and the story and captured its ethereal, fairytale feel. I still feel like my complaints are valid, but I didn't really notice them this time. I feel like I had the right expectations about what the author was going for, and the audio gave everything more depth and made me feel closer to the story, and I liked it.

To be honest, I was originally going to rate both books in this series slightly lower, but then, as some days went by after finishing, I was still kinda thinking about them. I wanted more. Not in the sense that they felt incomplete or lacking, just in the sense that I enjoyed them and therefore wanted more about these characters, or even just more books with this feel to them. I think it was the combo of both the stories and the audio narration that really did it for me. Listening to these was comforting. It was like someone was reading me a bedtime story.

Also, I now realize this is part of a series (that wasn't clear when it was first published), so the romance isn't quite so open-ended.

Anyway, I recommend trying the audio for this one if you're interested in it!

Reread Ratings:
3 Stars (1st Read - 2019)
4 Stars (2nd Read - 2020)

Recommended For:
Anyone who likes fairy tales, soft m/m romance, and woodsy magic.

Original Review @ Metaphors and Moonlight
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