After the Forest

The unforgettable magical Sunday Times bestselling historical fantasy 2023 debut novel perfect for readers of Naomi Novik, Katherine Arden and Rebecca Ross

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Pub Date 04 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 03 Oct 2023

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The stunning historical fantasy taking the world by storm

'Deliciously irresistible' Natasha Lester

'Historical fantasy at its best' Belinda Alexandra

'Utterly enchanting' Kate Forsyth

'Bewitching ... Woods is a powerful new voice in speculative fiction' Publishers Weekly starred review

'A clever merger of fantasy and historical fiction' Sydney Morning Herald

Ginger. Honey. Cinnamon. Flour.

A drop of blood to bind its power.

1650: The Black Forest, Wurttemberg. Fifteen years after the witch in the gingerbread house, Greta and Hans are struggling to get by. Their father and stepmother are long dead, Hans is deeply in debt from gambling, and the countryside lies in ruin, its people recovering in the aftermath of a brutal war.

Greta has a secret, though: the witch's grimoire, secreted away and whispering in her ear, and the recipe inside that makes the most sinfully delicious - and addictive - gingerbread. As long as she can bake, Greta can keep her small family afloat.

But in a village full of superstition, Greta and her intoxicating gingerbread is a source of ever-growing suspicion and vicious gossip.

And now, dark magic is returning to the woods and Greta's own power - magic she is still trying to understand - may be the only thing that can save her ...

If it doesn't kill her first.


'Bewitching historical fantasy ... Woods is a powerful new voice in speculative fiction' starred review, Publishers Weekly (US)

'A dark and wondrous tale. Utterly enchanting' Kate Forsyth, bestselling author of The Crimson Thread

'Deliciously irresistible ... A gorgeous debut that you'll consume in one gulp' Natasha Lester, New York Time bestselling author of The Three Lives of Alix St Pierre

'Evocative, vivid and enchanting: Historical fantasy at its best' Belinda Alexandra, bestselling author of The French Agent

'Utterly captivating ... Dark as molasses and dripping with witchcraft, love and magic gingerbread' Lauren Chater, bestselling author of The Winter Dress

'Woods enfolds a fairy tale within a fairytale and sets them against a socially realistic portrayal of early modern Germany, in a clever merger of fantasy and historical fiction' Sydney Morning Herald

'A love song to fairy tales ... Sweet as gingerbread and bitterly dark as heart's blood' Angela Slatter, award-winning author of The Path of Thorns

'Woods is a born storyteller ... Sophisticated and intricately plotted' Jo Riccioni, award-winning author of The Branded and The Rising

'A dazzling debut rich in myth and laced with beautiful prose. Bewitching and clever, this book will cast a spell on readers' Eleanor Limprecht, author of The Coast

'Truly enchanting historical fantasy. Woods spins threads of gold in this delicious and vivid exploration of love, myth and magic' Meredith Jaffe, author of The Tricky Art of Forgiveness

'Excellent historical fantasy ... Poetic, evocative, and most of all, addictive. An author to watch and a powerhouse debut' Grimdark Magazine

'I was hooked from start to end ... With magic, werewolves, gingerbread and a beautiful love story, this Australian debut kept me coming back for more' Cassie Landt, BorrowBox

'Elegant . . . Offer this lyrical, character-rich fantasy to fans of Mary McMyne's The Book of Gothel and Genevieve Gornichec's The Weaver and the Witch Queen' Booklist, starred review

'Readers will root for Greta to finally achieve her happily ever after while also relishing Woods' dark, folklore-infused story . . . A tantalizing treat' BookPage, starred review

'[Woods'] mingling of this historical setting with the magical - shape-shifters, forest magic, unnaturally long lives - works beautifully . . . A worthy addition to the world of fairy tale continuations' Locus Magazine

The stunning historical fantasy taking the world by storm

'Deliciously irresistible' Natasha Lester

'Historical fantasy at its best' Belinda Alexandra

'Utterly enchanting' Kate Forsyth


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781460762028
PRICE A$29.99 (AUD)

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Featured Reviews

After the Forest was an enjoyable story from start to finish. I liked the premise and the way the fairy tale elements were blended with other fantasy and paranormal tropes. Greta was a compelling heroine I was instantly ready to get behind, and I enjoyed the romance component of her adventures too. The book's prose was easy reading but still created great atmosphere, and the world building was nicely handled throughout. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to fans of fairy tale retellings and generally fantasy reads. I am giving it 4.5 stars.

(My review will go live on my blog and on Goodreads at the links provided below on 26 September 2023, as per your preference. I will then share on social media too.)

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