About the Book:
In this hauntingly original debut novel about a young woman whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society, Adam McOmber uses fantastical twists and dark turns to create a fast-paced, unforgettable story.
Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in 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 man-made 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 strange hidden world, 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.
About the Author:
Adam McOmber teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and is the associate editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika. Stories from his collection, This New and Poisonous Air, have been shortlisted for Best American Fantasy and nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in 2012. Visit AdamMcOmber.com.
This is a tale of three close friends, Jane, Maddie and Nathan. Both girls have feelings for Nathan but are not sure of what he feels for them. Jane is young woman with mystical abilities - she can hear the "souls" of man made objects; a "talent" that came upon her on the death of her mother. Nathan, like many in the Victorian era is interested in the occult and experiments with Jane thinking she is the Doorway to a perfect place, the highest order of Heaven, the Empyrean. This draws Nathan away from Maddie making her jealous. Nathan also belongs to a cult with a leader that is both mysterious and dangerous. Nathan's disappearance is the driving force of the tale.
This book is of a genre I don't tend to read but something about it drew me so I added it to my reading schedule and I must admit I'm glad that I did. It's not a perfect book by any stretch of the imagination but it kept me involved and reading and the ending was something that I did not see coming. If anything I felt it needed to be longer as I felt that much was left unexplained and more needed expounding. For example; the Empyrean itself. It played a huge role in the novel and yet it was never fully explained. I finally had to Google it to find out its origins. The man investigating Nathan's disappearance is a chimera; is he a bad guy, is he a good guy? He flits in and out with no real purpose other than to move Jane forward. He really was almost unnecessary. Through much of the book I felt as if I had a question mark over my head - I struggled for definitions that could have been placed earlier in the novel. I felt adrift.
And yet, perhaps that was the author's purpose since the book was one of the supernatural and of things unknown. A longer author's note would have been welcome and as noted above I think a longer novel would have been much better. But I am one of those weird types that likes thick books. All in all, though I really did enjoy my travels to and in The White Forest.
You can purchase The White Forest from Amazon.com
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of The White Forest from Touchstone Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, gratis. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.