Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia
Release date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Goodreads link: (click here)
It is 1627. Rune lives in the Black Forest of Bavaria with Matilde, an old woman who tells fortunes and provides medicines from the forest for the nearby villagers. Sixteen years ago, Rune's mother abandoned her and left her in the care of Matilde. Over the years, Rune became her apprentice and they grew close. Matilde became her family, the closest thing to a mother as she's ever known. They live outside of the hedge that protects the village from the dark mysteries of the forest. Even though the people from the village often come to them for help, they are still considered outcasts, feared and thought of as witches. For years they have been able to live in peace, but when Rune draws attention to them by accidentally causing harm to someone, the village is consumed with hysteria and they go on a witch-hunt. Rune is about to lose everything she's ever cared about, and to make things worse, she's hearing frightening whispers from her dead mother, who was burned for being a witch soon after her birth. Her mother is angry, and she is trying to convince Rune to exact vengeance upon the villagers for what they did to her so many years ago. As Rune runs for her life and fights to survive, she discovers that she is more than just an ordinary girl. Her heritage is shrouded in mystery, murder and witchcraft. She will soon find out who and what she really is.
Eltz Castle. Laurentz is the only remaining son of the Electorate of Berg Eltz. His step-mother has taken ill and his father has been keeping vigil by her side. When the bishop arrives and informs him that the neighboring castle, Pyrmont, has fallen to the Plague, he fears it will spread to their own castle and to the village they oversee. Laurentz wants nothing more than to earn the respect of his father, so he takes the matter into his own hands. He decides to travel to the village to warn the people there, but when he is going over the hedge, he literally runs into a beautiful and mysterious girl named Rune. After their meeting, he can't stop thinking about her. This will not be the last time their paths cross. When he finally makes his way into the village, it is not at all what he expected. He becomes a witness to a witch-hunt that is orchestrated by fear and corruption. He also may be falling in love with the girl everyone thinks is a witch. He must race against time to save her before she meets a tragic fate.
Laurentz and Rune will need each other if they want to unravel the mystery that binds them and that also threatens their lives.
Forest of Whispers is a bewitching historical fantasy with magic, danger, mystery, romance and deep dark secrets waiting to be revealed. Jennifer Murgia's beautiful writing will put you under a spell. It is an intriguing story, rich in history and full of Jennifer Murgia's trademark surprises. As much as it is historical fiction, it is also a great mystery. It's so different from what's out there right now, a nice change of pace. Forest of Whispers is a must for your Fall reading list. Also, I found myself Googling pictures of Bavaria for about an hour. The places in the book are real (and in the photos in this review) and they are spectacularly gorgeous. This is the first in a series and I already can't wait for the next book.
And also...I want cake. Black Forest cake.
(Google is evil)
(Google is evil)