Disclosure: I purchased the e-book “Winterwood” from Amazon. I don’t know the author personally. This novella is one of four novellas included in an anthology to be released later this year by my publisher. To ensure full disclosure, my own novella is also being included in this anthology.
The comments that follow are my own personal and honest opinion. Neither the author nor the publisher has requested this review. I’m writing this review at my own discretion. I have NOT received compensation of any kind, or from any one. I also have NOT received a free copy from any source, or done a review swap of any kind with the author.
I read this e-book in just over two hours. It kept my interest and given I hate reading e-books – that’s a plus. This story was interesting for the most part. It used Yuletide folklore as the basis for the story. The version of the story I was told years ago was quite different, and didn’t include many of the various elements included by this author. His enhancements made the story far more complicated and gave a richer version of the horror and fear the story was designed to invoke in children, who misbehaved during the Yuletide. The story did not resemble my memories of the tale. The story flowed well. The writer did a good job overall. Pace and descriptions were clear.
On the down side, I found a few issues. The characters were difficult to accept. I have known some very healthy and energetic grandparents, and I could see a grandfather doing whatever it took to save his grandchildren. But the main character’s poor health was emphasized, making that theory difficult to accept. His daughter didn’t believe, but jumped on the band wagon without issue and into another dimension. The tale included weird elements and situations that just didn’t flow well into the plot line or validate the characters in any way.
This book does contain some blood and gore often found in horror novels, but the premise is a stretched Christmas legend with elves, giants, wizards, and man-eating reindeer. This story concentrates on a fearful tale I don’t think any child ever actually believed, but it is suited to the anthology. It may bring back memories of those scary tales told on wintery nights.