Cover Image: A History of Wild Places

A History of Wild Places

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Member Reviews

๐Ÿ“Read in: Switzerland
1๏ธโƒฃThis book in one word: Creative
๐Ÿ“บRead this if you loved Midsommar

MY TAKE: I was surprised by how much I liked this book. Itโ€™s a bit out of my comfort zone with elements of magical realism throughout โ€“ but itโ€™s also a cult-ish mystery which is right up my alley. The writing beautifully transports you into the world Ernshaw creates. I had no idea what to expect as it all played out and I was intrigued from the very beginning. Instead of trying to solve the mystery, I ended up simply savoring the writing and the story. The short chapters told from the perspectives of different characters made the book move very quickly. I canโ€™t get over how creative and unique this book is. If youโ€™ve read this, I want to chat about the ending! Thank you @netgalley & @atriabooks for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was just ok for me. I did like the premise that one of our characters seemed to have some other worldly abilities to see someone's past. However, we didn't get a chance to really delve into that very much which was disappointing. Otherwise the plot was interesting enough, and the mystery was not too predictable. I didn't love the ending, but again this was still an ok read.
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Travis Wren finds missing people by feeling an article connected to them. He can see what happened with the owner of the item. He is hired to find Maggie St. James and led to a commune called Pastoral, which is made up of people that donโ€™t go outside the gates and no one is aloud in. Travis disappears just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo finds Travisโ€™s abandoned truck  just outside the gates of Pastoral. This sets off a chain reaction of events that could cause secrets to be revealed and could put the whole community in jeopardy.

Okayโ€ฆso I felt like this was an original idea and done very well. I was pulled into the story immediately and oh what a twist. Really enjoyed the writing and the characters.

I was provided this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Conscious communities are an interesting thing that I have always been fascinated with. I think that sometimes everyday life is just as scary as the best thriller. I would recommend.
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Thank you to Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. This book will stick with me sometime. However, sloppy copyediting does spoil parts of this book early on if you're paying close attention. I loved the similarity to The Village, as well as the relationships between the characters.
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Huh, What a twistโ€ฆ

A History of Wild Places starts off with Travis Wren, heโ€™s a private investigator of sorts who is looking for Maggie St. James, a writer of dark childrenโ€™s fairy tales. Heโ€™s recreating her steps, using his gift to find her when he finds his way to Pastoral, a community deep in the woods, and becomes one of the missing. The story then follows three different perspectives of Pastoral members, Theo, Calla and Bee, who slowly begin to learn what happened to Maggie and Travis all the while unraveling the past of their safe haven. 

Shea Ernshaw got the creepy setting down. Itโ€™s a cult story of sorts, something that I am not always a fan of, but she was able to make it just so dark, spooky, and mysterious that I was able to stick with it. 

If youโ€™re looking for a good psychological thriller mixed with a little mystery and dark fairy tale I highly recommend you pick this up. 


Thank You to Shea Ernshaw and Atria Books, for the digital ARC provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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This was a haunting story set in a very creepy setting. Shea Ernshaw weaves a very atmospheric story with captivating characters and a enticing storyline. I am a big fan of stories involving cults and this one did not disappoint. Dark, chilling, shocking and at times horrifying...and I loved every minute of it. Definitely will be looking for more of Ernshaws work in the future.
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I had to force myself to finish this, but that was on me because it just wasnโ€™t my kind of book.   A little to dark and spooky.  I should not have requested from NetGalley.  It is a well developed story and very creative.  And as I said definitely atmospheric.  I think this will be well received by the target audience.  I appreciate the opportunity to read this book.
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Once you get past the super long first chapter, the chapters are short and alternate characters. I found myself saying โ€œjust one more chapterโ€ over and over again until I finished the book. What a wild ride!
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4.5 stars for this captivating read! A History of Wild Places was a masterclass in ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ, a perfect read for those intrigued with culty communes, and a fascinating weaving of characters in multiple-POV. (๐˜Œ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ตโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ตโ€”๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜บ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜บ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ต๐˜บ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜›๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ตโ€” ๐˜ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฌ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ!)โฃ
โฃโฃ
Itโ€™s honestly a difficult one to discuss well without spoilers. So instead Iโ€™ll drop a riddle in verse.โฃ
โฃโฃ
๐™„๐™ฉ'๐™จ ๐™จ๐™ค ๐™š๐™–๐™จ๐™ฎ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™—๐™š๐™ก๐™ž๐™š๐™ซ๐™š โฃโฃ
๐™ฌ๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ฎ'๐™ง๐™š ๐™จ๐™๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช โฃ
๐™ฌ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™จ๐™š๐™š.
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*4.5 stars
This book was a wild ride. Absolutely gripping and captivating. Iโ€™ve never hyper up a book and recommended it to others around me so quickly (even before I finished reading it myself)! Itโ€™s a must-read in my opinion!
I had forgotten that I had requested this book on Netgalley, so when I received a copy, I went into it blindly and it was so worth it! I highly recommend reading it this way.

Here is a synopsis recap for those who want it (otherwise skip ahead):
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A History of Wild Places follows Travis Wren as he investigates the disappearance of Maggie St. James, a writer of dark childrenโ€™s fairy tales, five years after she vanished, with the use of his gift for seeing the past-lives in objects. Following in Maggieโ€™s steps, he finds his way to Pastoral, a reclusive community deep in the woods, and disappears as well. We then follow the different perspectives of Pastoral members, Theo, Calla and Bee as they uncover secrets and lies in their once peaceful community years after the disappearance of Maggie and Travis.
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I loved the various character perspectives and how fleshed out these characters were. The creepy atmosphere of the woods of Pastoral kept me gripping the edge of my seat with the feeling that something is not quite right. I loved the intrigue in this novel as I tried to piece together what happened to the characters. The writing was absolutely perfect!

I gave this book 4.5 stars instead of 5, because the ending left me wanting more. It was a great way to finish the book as everything comes full circle, but it made less of an impact for me simultaneously.

*Huge thank you to Atria Books for providing me with an ARC copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.**
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A History of Wild Places has been one of the best reads lately for me. You start by meeting  Travis. Travis has a gift where he sees people's stories without even trying and this has been a blessing and a curse. When asked to find Maggie St. James, Travis disappears. Or so we think. Enter Pastoral, a hidden away community that lives simply........or so we think. Here we meet Levi, the head of Pastoral with a not so great agenda, Theo and his wife Calla, and Calla's blind sister, Bee.
All characters have secrets you will slowly figure out as the book goes on.
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initial thoughts: liked, didnโ€™t love. 

I really enjoyed how Pastoral felt like a real place - you could imagine being in those woods, in the farmhouse. what didnโ€™t do it for me was, perhaps, the pacing of the story? the majority of the story felt a bit slow at times (but not too slow) and then the ending happened just so quick. I wonโ€™t give anyway spoilers, but I just thought, โ€œthatโ€™s it?โ€
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I was hooked right into this slow, suspenseful world full of secrets. I have to admit I was thrown a little when the plot seemed to flip over to the new characters, but I was drawn into their world and enjoyed seeing all the loose ends, all the clues, come together.
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I loved this book and could not put it down!  Very unique take on this type of storyline.  I had no idea what was coming next.  A dark, twisting mystery that pulls you into the story like you are actually there.
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Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this new work!

This was not my usual read but the reviews convinced me to take a chance! I usually read history and science non-fiction. 

This was unlike ANYTHING that I have ever read! Haunting and well-written. Unusual x10.

The storyline is completely unique. I don't want to spoil this for anyone. I highly recommend that you take a chance on this even if the info that see on this makes you think twice. You WILL not forget this one. Promise!
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Thank you to Atria, Shea Ernshaw and Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Maggie St. James was an author of children's books who has slipped into obscurity following a scandal after the release of her latest book. Five years ago she disappeared without a trace. Travis Wren is a tracker with a special ability that helps him find things and people. When people contact Travis to find their missing loved ones, it's usually a last resort. Travis is given one clue in his search for Maggie - the word "Pastoral." Now, while searching for Maggie, Travis himself disappears. 

Fast forward a number of years, and the story switches to that of Pastoral and its residents. Pastoral seems like a pleasant, safe place. It's a commune that was formed in the 1970s, deep in the woods by beatniks and hippies, who were seeking a new, simpler, more peaceful way of life. There's just one rule - no one is allowed in or out. 

Lifelong residents Theo, his wife Calla, and her sight impaired sister Bee, are happy living in Pastoral, until they make some shocking discoveries. Discovering the truth will reveal secrets not just about themselves, but also about their happy town. 

A History of Wild Places is YA author Shea Ernshaw's adult debut novel. Having read books from Ernshaw before, I knew going in that it would be good. I just didn't know how good it was going to be. To say that I loved this book is an understatement. It was one of my top five favorite reads of 2021. I tried to take my time with this book and not rush through it so I could savor Ernshaw's lyrical prose and captivating story, but for me, this is one of those rare books that you race towards the gripping conclusion, wishing you could read faster, all the while hoping the end will never come so you can stay lost in the world created inside - because once you turn that last page, you get to sigh with the satisfaction of knowing the whole story, but also the sadness that they're is no more story and now it feels as if there's this hole inside you. 

5 stars
Recommended for fans of: psychological thrillers, fantasy, mystery, fairy tales, general fiction.
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3.5 stars 

Holy cow. I spent the entire book trying to figure out what was going on (who dun it) and I was unsuccessful. This wasnโ€™t a rapid page turner for me, but the story was still really interesting and hooked me from the beginning. There were a couple of aspects that still didnโ€™t quite make sense even at the end, but nothing detrimental to the storyline. I enjoyed the supernatural/ paranormal vibe this gave. Multiple POVโ€™s that really added to the book. I really enjoyed how they tied everything together. Good idea that was executed in a great way. 


Special thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books Publishing for the digital ARC.
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Iโ€™m going to give this 3.5 stars. I loved the writing, the concept and a majority of the execution, but the ending stalled for me. 

This book started out very strong. I love books with magical realism and this book will definitely grab you right away and force you to flip those pages to follow the mystery behind the disappearance of a famous childrenโ€™s book author. There were a lot of cliffhangers and also with that areas where you needed to exercise patience (I love the intensity of books like this). The timing of this book being published is also perfect and I think that looms even larger on just how intense this book gets in parts, which really ratchets up the suspense! 

Unfortunately, it seems Iโ€™m in the minority, but the last third of the book was a little puzzling and left me kind of scratching my head. Itโ€™s difficult for me to discuss the details on why without giving things away, which I definitely donโ€™t want to do. For me, the book showed so much promise, but it just didnโ€™t quite live up to the first half of the book. I definitely encourage you to read this if itโ€™s on your list and let me know what you think. Donโ€™t let my review deter you! It might just be me. 

Thanks to Atria Books for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Review Date: 12/04/2021
Publication Date: 12/07/2021
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A History of Wild Places has such a gorgeous cover, but inside is something darker. People are disappearing near a commune called "Pastoral" which gives off creepy vibes. Members of the commune have secrets from the general public, but also secrets from each other. 

Ernshaw does such as amazing job at both storytelling and creating a vivid atmosphere. The plots twists are mind blowing and the storyline will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. This book is dramatic, suspenseful, and creative in both plot and character.
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