Monday, January 17, 2022

Book Review | A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Source: personal purchase. This is a review of my reading experience.

A History of Wild Places is a horror-adjacent mystery novel by Shea Ernshaw.

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

Called "Pastoral," this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it… he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.
I've never read any of Shea Ernshaw's YA books, but I was really excited to check out her adult debut. It sounded very twisty and unique, and I was ready to take what I thought would be a pretty trippy ride.

In the end, I did wind up liking A History of Wild Places, but it was a struggle to get there. The book is broken up into four parts. The first part follows Travis - a private investigator of sorts - starting out on his journey to find a missing woman. These 50 pages are all told through Travis' first person perspective. It took me a while to get use to a literary first person adult narrative, but by the end of those 50 pages I was hooked and ready.

This is where my first big issue came in. Part two switches everything. Suddenly the reader is following three different characters (all still in first person narrative) who are living with this strange cult in the woods. I had to reorient myself all over again. I spent most of A History of Wild Places trying to decide whether to DNF or not.

This book obviously worked a lot better for other reviewers than it did for me. Even though I struggled pretty hard with it, the concept is unique enough that I recommend you try it out for yourself if you've been interested in reading it.

2.5/5 stars


Subscribe: rss Follow: twitter goodreads Contact: email


  1. I am sorry this one was a struggle. The shift in narrative sounds confusing.

  2. I would struggle with that sudden shift in narrative, too. I don't like it when authors do that. But the premise of this one is interesting.

    1. I don't either especially if it's something like a huge jump in time.


Follow Me on Twitter! RSS Feed Email Me! Friend Me on Goodreads! Follow Me on Instagram!

Powered by Blogger