Cover Image: A History of Wild Places

A History of Wild Places

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for this ARC, such a suspenseful book. At first I thought I knew where it was going but there were things I didn’t see coming! As another reviewer said it reminded me a bit of the movie The village.
Was this review helpful?
Thriller readers will enjoy this one, though I didn't find a lot about it that was unique or fresh. I do tend to read lots in this category, so perhaps I'm harsh on thrillers.
Was this review helpful?
I am yet again completely blown away by Shea Ernshaw’s writing. This story felt like a thriller mixed with magical realism and I couldn’t put the book down until I finished. I had thought I predicted the ending but I was wrong. Thank you so much for letting me be one of the first readers to get an early copy.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Artria books for my advanced digital copy!

This book y'all, she is one of favorite authors and she ventured into Adult fantasy with a perfect platter of everything. A History of wild places is a fairy tale in all aspects but not the one you'd read by the beach but with a hot mug of coffee before the roaring fire place while the wind is whistling outside with the impending storm

"This place isn't haunted-not in the way I'm accustomed to- it's paralyzed in time" 

Shea Ernshaw can set the mood of an entire book with one sentence, her writing is so wholesomely atmospheric that the whole scene plays out in-front of you without much effort, weather it takes place in a beach town, on the edge of the woods or inside the deep woods- her writing transports you immediately to where the plot starts to unfolds

A History of wild places is beautifully done atmospheric/chilly thriller with a hint of fantasy, where reality is warped time seems to be suspended. It is told in three POV's mostly Theo, Calla and Bee whose storylines interweave with perfection yet without giving away anything until the very end. Travis Wren has a special ability- he can see what he calls an "afterimage" of someone if he touches something of their's which he uses to help finding missing people which is how she lands on Maggie St.James missing case. Maggie an author of children's (dark) fairytale books has been missing for 5 years, one second she is there and the next second she is vanished from the face of the earth, a trail of breadcrumbs left by her "afterimage" leads Travis on to an unexpected path from which he may or may not come back!

"We all leave markers behind-dead or alive- vibrations that trail behind us through all the places"

This book is hard to review without accidentally giving spoiling something, it is perfect for the fans of Night Shyamalan's movies(The Village) and in fact would make up for an amazing psychological thriller where you cannot tell if it's something super natural thats happening? or is it your own mind playing tricks? while I did see part of the ending coming- the twist is still mind boggling and sent a chill up my spine

"There is no history in a place until we make it, until you live a life worth remembering" 

Read if you like: 

-Movies like The Village, 10 Cloverfield lane, The Village
-Slow burn atmospheric thrillers
-Writing thats lyrical and a chef's kiss!
Was this review helpful?
I genuinely don’t know how to review this book without spoiling anything. My recommendation is to go in blind and enjoy the ride. This book just reiterates that Ernshaw can write some of the most atmospheric stories I’ve ever read and still manage to pull off entirely unique plots. 

This one gives off The Village and The Devil All the Time vibes if you want to know the type of book you’re getting into. There’s a missing macabre children’s book author, a man with a gift for finding people, a cult-like commune deep in the woods, a pox, multiple POVs and a very ominous tone throughout. Does that work for ya? I went in not knowing anything and I can honestly say I didn’t see any of the twists coming and I throughly enjoyed myself the entire time. Highly recommend experiencing this book without reading any reviews and just experiencing all the dark and spooky vibes it throws at you!
Was this review helpful?
This was such a unique read. Absolutely loved it from start to finish. The suspension of disbelief required for the twist was maybe a little bit of a stretch, but I bought in! The prose was lush, the characters engaging, the world utterly unique.
Was this review helpful?
A History of Wild Places is truly a wild rides. Full of mystery and a small amount of magic, Shea Ernshaw will leave you wondering what happens in this small village of misfits and why are people disappearing???
Was this review helpful?
A History of Wild Places has been my favorite ARC to date! Dark, mysterious, eery, ominous, troubling, and full of twists and turns, I was kept guessing the whole way! I love how it ended and the character development throughout. Completely unexpected! Highly recommend this one!
Was this review helpful?
This is a book you need to pick up on your day off. You won't be putting it down until you've figured out if it is a mystery, a ghost story, a fair tale, or something else completely.
I was engrossed from the first chapters.
Was this review helpful?
A History of Wild Places took me on a crazy ride. I definitely got The Village vibes as I read this story. Travis Wren is tasked with finding a missing author, Maggie St. James. He has a gift where he touches an object and can see its past. Upon touching one of Maggie’s bracelet charms, he finds her car abandoned outside of a reclusive community known as Pastoral. When Travis finds Pastoral, he mysteriously disappears also. Years later Theo, a member of Pastoral, secretly finds Travis’ abandoned car right outside of the community. Secretly, because members of Pastoral are not allowed to leave the town’s walls for fear of bringing back a sickness that lingers in the woods. 

This story has so many puzzle pieces, and I loved trying to figure out how they fit together. Shea’s writing is stunning, especially when it involves anything surrounding nature. This story is told in alternate point-of-views, and I loved how seamlessly they weave together. If you like creepy stories about communes and borderline cults, I definitely recommend you check this one out. 

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
When someone goes missing, there is always a story. When that someone disappears under suspicious circumstances, and the man who goes looking for her also disappears, you know you’re in for a ride.

A History of Wild Places starts out following private investigator, Travis Wren, who despite his demons, agrees as a favor to a friend, to use his talents to find missing children’s author, Maggie St. James. On the verge of discovering what happened to her, he also disappears. Years later, residents of the mysterious town called Pastoral piece together the truth.

Shea Ernshaw uses multiple character point-of-view to its maximum potential. With a twist I didn’t see coming and a strange, cult-like town, this book reminded me of the movie “The Village.” And just like the movie, some people are willing to kill to keep the truth a secret.
What I Liked
This book drew me in from the very first page and kept me there until the end. The writing is clean, the characters are unique and memorable, and I literally couldn’t put it down. If you dig a bit of creepy suspense and love to see the truth come out, no matter what, this book was written for you.

For the absolutely mesmerizing story and a twist that made for an incredibly satisfying ending I couldn’t give it anything other than five stars.
Was this review helpful?
This story was amazing. Easily 4.5 stars. However how does one describe a book which you thought was about something, was actually about something else, just to figure out… there is a twist of all twists coming your way and oh by the way, once the biggest bomb is dropped there is actually one other mind blowing twist. See my struggle here?

Maggie St. James writes dark children’s stories. One day she disappears. Her family hires Travis Wren to find her. While tracking her down, Travis stumbles upon the commune of Pastoral. And then he also disappears.

Years later, a member of Pastoral named Theo finds a truck that was abandoned long ago. The truck belonging to Travis Wren. This discovery begins unraveling his perception of his community where until recently, he had lived happily with his wife Calla and her sister Bee. Is there life to be had outside of Pastoral? 

This book was at times slow and creepy, and at other times insanely fast paced and intense. Certain story lines were a bit predictable and other storylines I could never see coming. There are so many unreliable narrators- truly, this book messes with you from start to finish.

For a book that will shock you, I highly recommend reading A History of Wild Places!
Was this review helpful?
I really wanted to love this, because I enjoyed Ernshaw’s YA books, but this was just paced way to slow for my current mood.  I didn’t enjoy or even like the trio of main narrators, and just can’t get past that to get fully involved in the story and continue reading.  DNF 29%
Was this review helpful?
I think the book is thought provoking and would make for a good discussion. It was intriguing and grabbed me from the beginning with a missing person and the guy tasked to find her. I don’t know that I identified with any of the characters in Pastoral but I was intrigued to find out their story and why they lived the way they lived. The book really had me guessing about who this community was and where the missing people were. The book was definitely a page turner and I was surprised a few times with where the story went.
Was this review helpful?
YA author Shea Ernshaw's debut adult offering "A History of Wild Places" is the story of reclusive commune in the woods called Pastoral, a missing author, and the man tasked to find her. Shifting focus between Travis Wren, the investigator with the ability to view past events from touching objects, and three residents of Pastoral struggling with their own secrets, this is an atmospheric, well-paced, and entertaining read. While some of the plot points are a tad well-trodden (especially for readers who have seen the movie The Village), Ernshaw throws enough curveballs throughout to keep things fresh and the majority of the characters are well written and likeable so we feel their turmoil on a deeper level. 

While I think sequels are far too numerous everywhere, the history of Pastoral is so bizarre and intriguing that a prequel exploring the beginning and establishment of the society would be an interesting read as well!

**I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to
Netgalley and Atria Books**
Was this review helpful?
A History of Wild Places was not what I expected — not when I first heard about the book, and not even when I’d already started it. And truthfully, I mean this in the best way.
The story, to me, is the rare sort of tale that’s unexpected but founded, magical but real, and tender but wild. It takes root slowly at first, before the world is suddenly built all at once when the pieces fit together and you realize you were holding them the whole time. It revealed some things I knew enough to guess while still surprising me, and handed me characters I didn’t even expect and made me care about their lives, wants, and histories. 
I haven’t read other works by this author as of yet, but after this, I hope to soon :)
Was this review helpful?
I really wanted to like this book. Shea Ernshaw has written really good teen books but this adult novel fell flat for me. It didn't have her usual otherness. Yes, some of the characters had vague "powers" but overall this just just a predictable cult story with none of the otherworldliness that I have come to except.
Was this review helpful?
I would give A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw a 4 star review because, this book took my attention from the first page, its creepy, intense,  disturbing without spoiling the book. My only problem was that it was slow.
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to Atria books, Shea Ernshaw and Netgalley.
This was everything I expect in a story about communes. Creepy leader and people who can't seem to think for themselves. Ah, but it's really so much more. 
I was put through the wringer! I found some lovable characters here, and was worried sick.
Eventually? I felt like I'd just come home and discovered that someone had left a plate of warm, home made chocolate chip cookies. This story was a gift!
Was this review helpful?
Really enjoyed this book! It was the first one for me to read by this author and I can't wait to read more! The characters stick with you long after the book is over.
Was this review helpful?