Thursday, September 6, 2012

Blog Tour Review: The White Forest


Author: Adam McOmber
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Touchstone
Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father at a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of manmade objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London's elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation, with the goal of discovering a new virtual reality, a place he calls the Empyrean.

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.

Adam McOmber, whose short story collection This New and Poisonous Air earned glowing praise for its evocative prose, here reveals a gift for fantastical twists and dark turns that literary fans will relish.


I have to admit that not only was I hesitant when I picked up this book, I was VERY hesitant when I picked up this book! It just did not look like something that was going to suit me, but I was intrigued by the front cover. I originally wanted the book because of the word “gothic” on the back cover. This book promised to be a Victorian Gothic read and I, at least, can never go wrong with that. The front cover has a somewhat somber effect the reader. I was almost in a trance for the first ten minutes trying to take in the scenery. At first I did not realize that she was walking down a parallel path of trees. It was almost as if it were an optical illusion and I just thought she was among lots of trees in a forest. Creepy, I know.


Jane Silverlake has a rather odd ability, in that she can feel the souls of man-made objects. At the beginning of the book Nathan Ashe, a close friend to Jane, has mysteriously disappeared and Jane’s powers seem to get stronger as if in effect of his disappearance. On a quest with her dear friend Maddie, Jane begins to seek answers to her questions. Knowing that Nathan had recently been involved in occult activity, Jane starts to search for relevant reasons for his disappearance. This leads her on a very interesting and time consuming journey and all that she meets along the way is enough to write a whole other book entirely.


This book was written under the influence of authors like Poe and Hawthorne, I just know it! Such a huge fan of anything having to do with the Victorian Gothic era, I literally lingered on every page. The verse, form, and structure of the novel were so nicely interwoven, adding simple notes of solemn feeling and dialogue. Literally, a perfect gothic read. As I was reading I couldn’t help but notice the chills that would often float up my arms and legs. I guess I was just that creeped out at certain stages in the book. This book is truly the work of a literary genius. I was scared to turn the page at certain points and equally scared to keep going, but I just had to. This is one of those books; yes, it makes you never want to stop even when you are at the last page.


I definitely underestimated what this book would do for me. I thought that I would read it and then catalog it away on my shelf amongst many others. NO! I want more of Hampstead Heath and the characters that I read about especially Jane. I was so fascinated with Jane because she wasn’t anything special, beside her unique gift. But other than that she was just a girl and not even a girl who was usually socially accepted. There was something about her that I think even people who did not know that she has this stunning gift still found odd about her. She possessed a raw power that memorized you, as the reader, and not for her remarkable personality or her stunning beauty, but because you may even be a little fearful of her and you can sense her connection to the unknown.


Complete and utter literary success!! I highly suggest anyone pick up a copy. Even if the Victorian Gothic genre is not one that usually suits you, I believe after this book it will!!


Adam McOmber’s novel, The White Forest, will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, in September 2012.  He is also the author of a book of short stories, This New & Poisonous Air(BOA Editions, 2011).  His work has appeared in Conjunctions, StoryQuarterly, The Fairy Tale Review, Third Coast, Quarterly West, The Greensboro Review and Arts and Letters .  He has been nominated for two 2012 Pushcart Awards and received an AWP Intro Award.  He lives in Chicago and teaches at Columbia College where he is also the associate editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika.



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  1. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Thanks for participating.

  2. I have never heard of this book. I have added to my TBR, thanks for the awesome review. I am really excited about this one.