Cover Image: The Dark Between The Trees

The Dark Between The Trees

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Member Reviews

Honestly, it's a 3.5 read so I rounded it up to a 4. SUCH potential here, and the build up was really strong. I was genuinely worried about some of the characters. It was definitely Blair Witch meets The Terror, which is vibes, but the woods inside of woods bit is where things got iffy. Still! I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to others.
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I was hooked from the start. I really liked this book. I liked the characters and the way the book was written. I wouldn't say it was scarry but it was intense and I never felt bored with the story. I liked how the two timelines connected to each other and you could follow how the experienced the same things without it feeling repetitive.
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Rating : 3 out of 5
Blurbs : 
1643: A small group of Parliamentarian soldiers are ambushed in an isolated part of Northern England. Their only hope for survival is to flee into the nearby Moresby Wood... unwise though that may seem. For Moresby Wood is known to be an unnatural place, the realm of witchcraft and shadows, where the devil is said to go walking by moonlight...

Seventeen men enter the wood. Only two are ever seen again, and the stories they tell of what happened make no sense. Stories of shifting landscapes, of trees that appear and disappear at will... and of something else. Something dark. Something hungry.

Today, five women are headed into Moresby Wood to discover, once and for all, what happened to that unfortunate group of soldiers. Led by Dr Alice Christopher, an historian who has devoted her entire academic career to uncovering the secrets of Moresby Wood. Armed with metal detectors, GPS units, mobile phones and the most recent map of the area (which is nearly 50 years old), Dr Christopher's group enters the wood ready for anything.

Or so they think

Thoughts : Horror, thriller, and mystery story with a questionable ending. The blurbs are good. The plot is also pretty good. Sadly, the ending is anti-climatic and there are some things that need explanation. Anyway, if you like horror books, you'll enjoy this book. Thank you Netgalley for the early ARC
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I enjoyed this really unique storyline.  The atmosphere created by the duel timelines is brilliant as both narratives walk through the woods.  This story is definitely creepy and well written.
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'If you go down to the woods today, or in 400 years time...'.

An accomplished folk-horror narrative with parallel present-day and civil war (The go-to period for this genre it seems) streams which gradually converge. Perhaps most interesting element is a sub-textual examination of how folklore and legend is gradually layered, over time, around a single element
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The Blair Witch Project meets The Terror in this chilling novel. Told through alternative time periods and perspectives, we ponder the questions: What does it mean to be truly trapped? What happens when ambition outweighs safety? Is pride worth the ultimate price? Using the manipulation of time and space, the Dark Between the Trees is an unsettling journey which will make you reconsider your weekend hiking plans.
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An suitably spooky tale, centred around mysterious goings-on in Moresby Wood (in northern England), which seems to have a life - or lives - of its own.

There are two narrative threads, centred around a group of Civil War soldiers and a modern-day academic investigation, which mirror each other pleasingly, to a dramatic and effective conclusion.

A welcome addition to the gothic folk-horror genre.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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When you enter the woods in The Dark Between the Trees, your senses are heightened and you feel like something is lurking close by watching you from a distance and just waiting to show itself. The atmospheric writing is phenomenal and the dual timelines between past and present give the story a strong backbone. However, as much as I absolutely loved all the buildup, the end felt lackluster by comparison. 

Horror fans should still give this one a read though because it is a haunted tale unlike any other I've read, but just prepare yourself that the end does not quite live up to the rest. 

Fiona Barnett is a wonderful writer though and I am thrilled to see what this author delivers in the future.
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Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation meets Adam Nevill's The Ritual. Or folk horror with a Lovecraftian twist. I liked this, but I didn't love it – the characters in both plotlines are strangely flat and affectless, and I found it hard to get properly engrossed. I still think there's a lot to admire here, though.
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2.25 stars

Two groups of people in different eras set off into the haunted Moresby Woods.  One -in 1693- is a group of soldiers fleeing the enemy not knowing the woods hold a different type of terror.  Only 2 men make it out alive to tell the story.  The present day group is a funded expedition with researchers hoping to find evidence on what happened to the soldiers.  None of their research or equipment can prepare them for what the woods has in store. 

I really tried to get into this book, but it just didn’t work for me. It ended up taking me a much longer time to read than it would typically take me to finish a book. 

The setting of the woods created a gloomy and spooky atmosphere. The story of the witch and the corrigal help build the suspense while the two groups (in dual timelines) trekked through the woods.  However it just felt lacking. I felt like the story never followed through or reached its full potential. The build up never pays off - it just drops away and we are left with many loose ends.  

*Thank you to Rebellion and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.
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DNF at 43%.
I couldn’t get into the story and after a time I found myself zoning out and reading without understanding a word.
Thank aou to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy.
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I thought this one was really interesting. I enjoy books like this- a little history, a little horror and some mystery. I thought the beginning was very strong. The ending left a little to be desired but I overall enjoyed it and will be recommending!
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Thanks to Netgalley for an a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review. I was very intrigued by the fact this was set in the woods. I really enjoyed the dual timeline aspect of this book, both set 300-400 hundred years apart in a woodland in rural England. I  loved the folklore that both groups of people shared even though they were centuries apart - it gave an additional spooky vibe to the setting. The setting of the woods in general increased the spooky atmosphere and instantly makes you feel isolated and uneasy. The unknown element of this story, the question of whats  in the woods had a slow build up throughout but sadly for me I would have like the horror element to be explored a little more.
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An enjoyable suspense novel with an interesting premise and strong bunch of characters. The author writes suspense really well, and the gloomy but sinister atmosphere was believable and convincing. I'm not usually a fan of dual timeline narratives, but the author weaved them together so effortlessly that I really enjoyed the switch from chapter to chapter. 

Unfortunately the ending lost me a bit. I felt like we were building up to a big reveal or at least some sort of devastating event, but we got neither of those things. You could argue that the anticlimactic ending actually fits perfectly with the story and the idea that you never have all the answers, but I think this book could have benefitted from a stronger ending for at least one/some/all of the characters. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I really waffled on what rating to give this one, because it was such a solid folk horror tale right up until the end. The relationships between the women, as well as their characterization in general, could have been fleshed out a bit more -- I felt like some of their decisions were confusing and disjointed from how they'd been presented up until that point.
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In 1643, 17 soldiers flee into Moresby Wood, only two are ever seen again and the tale they tell is beyond belief. Today, five women set out to find out what really happened all those years ago, but nothing could prepare them for what they encounter in Moresby Wood.

Aside from a few pacing issues, and feeling at a bit of a distance from some of the characters, I did really enjoy this book. It had a really cool concept and nicely set the scene in an eerie and inhospitable environment. 
I enjoyed the back and forth between timelines, although both suffered from a rather lengthy, drawn out set-up. That said, in ways, it was quite fitting for the story, there was even a point where one of the characters remarks on how it felt as if they had been in the woods weeks rather than the actual two days, which made me pause and realise it had only been two days for both parties. So this pacing may have been intentional, but I still would have preferred it to have been slightly faster in getting to the point and connecting the two narratives, as this interconnected element was very interesting.
I was also surprised by my preference for the historic timeline over the present day. I struggled to get invested in the journey of the characters in the present day. Their group was at odds with one another from the start and not enough was revealed about any of them for me to really make a connection with any of them. The soldiers on the other hand, I found oddly compelling and found myself enjoying those chapters more.
The mythology and horror elements were cool, I would just have preferred to have seen them woven in earlier, but the reveal was nicely done, if a bit anticlimactic.

Overall, a fun, atmospheric gothic horror with a really cool concept.

Thank you NetGalley and Solaris for my e-arc of this title, received in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. This was a very interesting book to read and, in the end, I really don't know how to feel about it. I guess I will go with 3.5 stars, but really this could fluctuate in the future depending on how my thoughts process over these next couple of days. The writing was a very interesting and unique way to tell a story in that we do not get all the answers even as the story is progressing. There were moments when I flipped back a few pages to make sure I hadn't missed anything while reading on my kindle. I'm not sure what the "theme" or "point" of the story was but I'm not sure it matters. If you're looking for a confusing horror tale that isn't going to give you all the answers but will be a story in which you can kind of create your own thoughts as to what is going on, then this will be for you. Super quick read and a small page number actually helps this story. Had it been longer I would have most likely been frustrated by the lack of answers. Because this story moves quickly it makes sense that the reader has a lost feeling much like what the characters are experiencing. I can honestly say I haven't read a horror like this before and it really made me think about this type of storytelling.
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This book was definitely eerie and tense. It was a little slow at times but kept me engaged and wanting to continue to read into the night. The characters were well written and believable.
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6 / 10 ✪

In 1643, two soldiers from the Roundhead company—a unit of Parliamentarian soldiers—stumble into the small village of Tapford, wounded and shaken. Here, the men are taken and gaoled for desertion. Only one man, Thomas Edgeworth, sees the sunrise the following day, his companion, Josiah Moody, having succumbed to his injuries during the night. Upon asking to speak with a local priest, he tells his tale, the one that eventually drew Dr. Alice Christopher to him—and to the Corrigal.

Onto the present day, which finds five women heading into the confines of Moresby Wood in an effort to trace the footsteps of the Roundhead company, as provided by Edgeworth, the sole survivor of the incident. In addition to the stories and legends passed down by locals over the years, the history of Roundhead company remains one of the most promising pieces of the puzzle—a tale that Alice has staked her entire career on.

And so, while Dr. Christopher leads her team of wardens and grad students into the Wood, some 350 years prior, Captain Alexander Davies leads his company of seventeen men into Moresby as well. Neither know what they’ll find here—though one has a much better idea.

Something dark lurks in Moresby Wood. Something ancient, something unnatural. 

The Corrigal.


I was surprised by just how much of this book <i>wasn’t</i> about the Corrigal. I mean, the starring, almost titular villain, and it plays just a footnote to the real mystery of Moresby: that of the… what exactly?

There’s a witch in there—or so it’s said, as we never see one. Like the Corrigal, after a time it’s just abandoned in place of… a mystery.

But let’s not get too far ahead.

The Dark Between the Trees starts out as a gothic, atmospheric horror story, set in the disorientating and often claustrophobic confines of Moresby Wood—a place that might’ve been lightened up somewhat had anyone had the idea of climbing a tree. Plastered by rain and often choked by mist, the two groups follow more or less the same pathways along their journey to the center of the mystery—one to find what has befallen the other. There are two main POVs: that of Dr. Christopher’s group, and that of Captain Davies. They are told in alternating form, with the two groups progressing at around the same rate. It actually works quite well, for a time, as the tension and atmosphere of the tale plays well in the confines of the Wood.

The dueling legends of the Corrigal and the Witch wreak havoc with each group, albeit for different reasons. The scientists are divided in two on the legend—between skeptics and believers. The soldiers, on the other hand, are divided into three—those that fear the Witch (and through her the Devil), those that fear the Corrigal (an ancient beast predating religion), and those that scoff at both notions. It’s honestly hard for me to pick which group I related to more, as I think they’re all a bit disillusioned. The Witch never really materializes into anything. The Corrigal <i>does</i>, but likewise is dropped in favor of the more mysterious mystery. A mystery which I still don’t really understand even though it was the center of the last handful of chapters.

Okay, so what am I saying here? I realize it’s a bit confusing, as even I’m a bit confused. The story was good until it wasn’t. The atmosphere, the tension, the plot all start off strong, but wither long before the end. I experienced some genuinely terrifying moments when we are at last confronted by the Corrigal, but then it’s whisked away and never really holds the same place in the story again. The end was confusing. And a letdown. Not to mention a complete departure from the rest of the book. The pacing—again, which started off quite well, and continued that way for most of the tale—went to pieces near the close. The characters followed its lead.

So… pretty much what I’m saying is that the Dark Between the Trees is 50-80% of a good book. After that it’s a book, and after that it’s just confusing and dark. I… wouldn’t recommend it, but I’d keep an eye on the author, as this <i>was</i> her debut, and there’s a lot to like in this story. Just maybe not enough.
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The Dark Between the Trees by Fiona Barnett

A Gothic folk-thriller set in a mysterious wood in Northern England.  A story of old mythical monsters and ghosts, The Dark Between the Trees is a fast-paced, anxiety inducing tale. 

Named after a 14th century family who enter the trees to establish a homestead, The Moresby Woods hold many old stories, some born before Christendom, like the Corrigal’s nest lying deep within the woods core.   

In 1643 Parliamentarian Soldiers led by Captain Davis flee to the woods to escape an ambush by the Kingsmen on their march North, and never to be seen again.  Present day, Dr Alice Christopher leads a small team of historians and park rangers into the woods to trace Davis’s steps and discover the truth behind the disappearance of the men.  The two timelines fit seamlessly together, and though they are separated by more than 300 years, the similarities in the dynamics and mindset of the groups, when faced with an extreme hair-raising climate, is mentionable.  

For me, Moresby Woods is the main character and the author breaths life into it with her eerie, atmospheric prose.  This was a pretty solid read, in a sub-genre I’m becoming more interested in and I was genuinely anxious in parts, however, I was vaguely disappointed with the ending.  In hindsight, I can see how the two timelines were perhaps more intertwined than I realised and maybe with a slightly sharper execution I would have given the story another star.  All that said, this would be a good choice for these darker, cold nights.


Thank you @Netgalley and @rebellionpublishing for an advance copy in return for an honest review.  

The Dark Between the Trees by Fiona Barnett was published on 11th October 2022.
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