In this darkly funny, striking debut, a highly unusual young woman must venture into the woods at the edge of her home to remove a curse that has plagued the women in her family for millennia—an utterly original novel with all the mesmerizing power of The Tiger’s Wife, The Snow Child, and Swamplandia!
Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.
But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself (From Goodreads)
I rate this book 4 out of 5 Stars.
Thank you at Harper Books #Partner for my free review copy. All opinions are my own.
I want to start out by saying, Magical Realism, isn’t a genre I am very familiar with, at all. And due to this, I had zero clue what was going on in most of this book, I suppose I lack the imagination to have followed along perfectly. But, and this is a big but, I absolutely loved it. W.S.B.W. is such a unique story, very lyrical and creative. I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in it. It’s a slow burn, leading up to the final chapters when Maisie figures out who she is, and what she needs to do.
This book is told in alternating chapters between Maisie (past and present) and the ladies of the woods. I loved their chapters, and learning what brought the curse upon them. W.S.B.W. is full of feminist undertones, and female sexuality, and the power (and lack of power) that women have. There is so much to this book that my review cannot even touch upon. I may have struggled a bit through the first 50% of the book, but I am glad I did not give up, and ended up finding a story I really loved. I cannot wait to read more of Julia Fine’s books.