Cover Image: The Green Man of Eshwood Hall

The Green Man of Eshwood Hall

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The fact this took me 4 attempts to start shouts loudly. I couldn't get into it at all. I'm glad I finished it as it did get better but still wasnt better than 'okay’, the writing flowed well but overall unremarkable. Wouldn’t recommend this one but I would still try anything else by
this author. Overall three stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Was this review helpful?

The Green Man of Eshwood Hall sounded fascinating but I'm afraid I just wasn't swept up in the story as I hoped. It just dragged and I was disappointed that the Green Man, who I'd assumed would be the key component of the plot given the title, doesn't even appear until half way through the book. I also found the child protagonist irritating. Not for me and I wouldn't recommend it.

Was this review helpful?

I am always attracted by the promise of a Green Man story, and couldn't resist this novel, not knowing what else to expect from it. Set in the early-60s, the main protagonist, Izzy, is a young teenager, the oldest child of three in a dysfunctional family. Her mother is an attractive, selfish and lazy woman, and her father is a weak character.

The author has effectively drawn on English folklore to craft a good read which is well written. The novel looses one star because unexpected violent episodes meant that this wasn’t a bedtime read for me! That said, I shall be looking out for further books in the series, of which this is the first.

Was this review helpful?

This is a story that I find difficult to slot in to a particular genre. It's an odd little mix but has enough to intrigue, even if it does go off on some much darker tangents after beginning in quite a structured and 'normal' manner!

13 year old Izzy is at the heart of the story and is an inquisitive little soul. She doesn't go to school and has to look after her poorly mum, and they all find themselves moving to Eshwood Hall where her father becomes the handyman/inventor - he's always too busy it seems to deal with many of the family issues so Izzy is left to her own devices most of the time, and that leads her to explore the grounds and where she discovers The Green Man.

I loved the nature aspect and the mystery of the Hall and grounds - sounds like a place I'd love to spend some time exploring. There's even a mention of Enid Blytons' Enchanted Wood which is never a bad thing!

The story becomes quite dark with the introduction of The Green Man and there's definitely that folk/horror intention of the writer, although sometimes it doesn't quite land and became a little puzzling as to what it all meant! But at least the mystery of it all kept me reading to the end!

Was this review helpful?

The Green Man of Eshwood Hall is set in the early 1960s in the fictional English county of Northalbion. Despite its imaginary geography, the setting of this short novel is a familiar and realistic one – that of rural communities built around stately homes which, in a post-war era, already seemed remnants of bygone times.

The story follows thirteen-year-old Izzy, withdrawn from school to look after her younger sister and a baby, in view of her mother’s mysterious chronic heart ailment. The dysfunctional family travel from place to place, depending on the temporary jobs landed from time to time by her idealistic handyman father. Eshwood Hall, a dilapitated country estate, is the family’s latest home.

Izzy comes across as unhappy, continuously bearing the brunt of her mother’s – often unjustified – complaints. Her solitary, escapist adventures lead her to an abandoned chapel in the woods, inhabited by the Green Man of the title, clearly based on the eponymous character from British folklore. The Green Man initially seems like a benevolent figure, willing to help Izzy solve some of her problems. But his assistance comes at an increasingly bloodier price.

This novel is purportedly the first of a series of folk-horror novels sharing a similar setting. There is much that is promising here, not least the way in which Kerr draws upon elements of authentic folktales. The narrative is also striking in inhabiting a sort of “liminal” world, at once imaginary and familiar – the post-war period, for instance, is brilliantly evoked even though most of the narrative is fantastical in nature.

Where I felt the novel suffered was in a certain unevenness in tone and style. At its start, it looks as if this will be a delightfully eerie “haunted house” story, and it travels quite a bit down that route, before the Green Man is introduced, and the story suddenly changes direction. There is throughout a sense of wit and humour – the wry narrative voice of fable and folk-tale – which for, the most part, works very well. But by the end, this approach seems to jar with the rapid escalation of violence. This is a novel of many parts, and they don’t always coalesce well.

https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2022/11/The-Green-Man-of-Eshwood-Hall-Jacob-Kerr.html

Was this review helpful?

Not what I expected at all unfortunately. My rating reflects my personal enjoyment of the book rather than its quality. Review not posted anywhere else.

Was this review helpful?

When I read the blurb I thought about Pan's Labyrinth and I think there're some elements in common: the child, the isolation, the unknown and the wild.
It's a short story, more a novella than a novel, and you're immediately immersed in a eery atmosphere full of strange stories.
Izzy is just thirteen but the illness of her mother makes her the one who is in charge of cooking and cleaning. Her parents are lost in their life and do not seem to care: the mother with the young boy, the father an inventor.
Izzy is free to roam and she will be the one that triggers the changes.
A coming of age story mixed with folk horror. A story that surprised and i liked it.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

Was this review helpful?

I wanted to include this as our inaugural book for Wild Hunt Books new series: Things We Love. However, sadly, I will have to pass. I love Serpent's Tails' titles but this one disappointed. The writing never quite captured me even though the narrative should have been intriguing enough. I love a bit of historical fiction mixed with folk lore elements, yet the story moved in a way that I found myself often re-reading as I missed who was in the scene and what exactly was happening. If it wasn't for a possible review, I think I might have put this title down. The motivation and style was missing for me. I look forward to ST and imprints' upcoming releases. And you still are one of my favourite publishers! I hope we are able to feature a future title in our series.

Was this review helpful?

I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. Overall, it was an intriguing read, and I was never sure where the story was going to go and whilst I didn't know what to expect I didn't expect the ending. I did like the writing style, even if some of the storylines made for some uneasy moments when reading. Overall this one is 3 stars. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I couldn't get through the first chapter. It reads a lot like a children's story which is disappointing as the idea seems so intriguing. I tried to get past this but then found it difficult with the voice of a narrator preventing me from getting into the story, giving a sort of bird's eye view. And telling information straight away rather than drip feeding and letting the atmosphere build as most horrors do.
I prefer books where you see what the characters see and learn as they go about their story. This is more like a children's story that tells you everything.
I don't think it's fair to review when I couldn't finish it but Netgalley lower your stats if you don't review a book.
I couldn't get into this and was very disappointed

Was this review helpful?

This one just didn’t grab me at all, which is a shame as fantasy / horror based on rural folklore is one of my favourite things. It’s tonally inconsistent, and the story wasn’t involving. Lovely cover though.

Was this review helpful?

I was intrigued all the way through this book and my interest and intrigued was held all the way through. It is well written with an almost lyrical prose and rich imagery and vivid descriptions which make for an absolutely enchating read.

Was this review helpful?

This is a curious little book. At first, I believed it to have been miscatalogued as “General Fiction (Adult)” when it read like a YA or even children’s literature. The scenes towards the end set me right.
The Whipper family, Mum, Dad, Izzy, Annie and baby Raymond are moving to the dilapidated Eshwood Hall where Dad will work as a chauffeur and handyman for the eccentric Miss Claiborne. With Mum in poor health and Dad working, 13-year-old Izzie is free to roam house and adjoining woods. There she makes the aquaintance of a fantastical creature, an aquaintance that will change her and her family’s lives forever.
A fairytale/fantasy/coming-of-age with poetic leanings whose components could have been developed further.

Was this review helpful?

I was enchanted by this intriguing little book from the get go. There was no adjustment period in this one, it was an immediate pick up and go! I slipped into it straight away and couldn’t put it down. It was so easy to get into and effortless to read. I liked the shifting perspectives and just went with the flow to see how the plot would unravel. It didn’t seem to have any direction so I was intrigued.

The writing was brilliant and I loved the slightly lyrical nature and the beautiful imagery the author created. You truly felt like you were there in Eshwood hall with them. It was certainly immersive and entertaining.

I had no idea what sort of direction this book would take and my interest was piqued. The characters were all interesting too and I couldn’t wait to advance to the next chapter to find out more. Before I knew it, I’d finished it! I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting the direction it went in and feel a little confused with what I’ve just read, but I enjoyed it so can’t say it was a few wasted evenings of reading!

Was this review helpful?

Rounding up to three stars.

I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't enjoy this more.
The shifting points of view didn't help, but we're certainly not the only reason.
Some bits had me fully invested, others moved too slow.
Just an OK from me. .

Was this review helpful?