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The White Forest

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  1,186 ratings  ·  309 reviews
Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan.

But as the friends come of age, their i
...more
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Touchstone (first published September 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nancy
Literary masterpiece! The story itself is odd yet compelling. The first ten pages are confusing but slowly the conflict takes shape. Jane, a somewhat backward girl, senses the living souls of matter. Sometimes deafening and disturbing and other times calming and complete, Jane shares her gift with her best friends, Maddie and Nathan. Unfortunately, Jane knows little of human nature and petty jealousies. The story gathers speed even in nineteenth century England, as Maddie and Jane try to solve t ...more
Julia
Fantastical and haunting, from the start THE WHITE FOREST has me riveted to the page. I can't tell if our narrator is out of JANE EYRE or THE TELL-TALE HEART, but her measured description of her strange world has me captivated. Jane is a contradictory mix of petty emotion and open-hearted loneliness, making her grateful and jealous of the attention of her friends. Even more intriguing, her otherworldly gift seems both dangerous and innocuous, linked both to her mother's death and a meaningless p ...more
Jane
Where I got the book: I was offered a free review copy by Simon & Schuster in return for an honest review. Touchstone, the publisher of The White Forest, is a S&S imprint.

***SPOILER ALERT*** I’ve tried very hard not to give the story away, but hints of it may show through in this very long review. I’m really writing for those who have already read the book and want to know what others think about it. So if you’re here because you’re wondering whether to read this novel, you might want to
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Melinda Jane Harrison
ADDITION: With all my complaints and I am going to revise this review, I still love this book and am haunted by it. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time. It has staying power.


It's difficult to rate this book, because I have such mixed feelings about it. It's original, dark, Gothic, and highly descriptive in a way that makes you feel, see, smell, and taste the words. It's also a novel that I wanted to love, even as I read it and felt uncertain; I'd change my mind on the next page a
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Tahlia Newland
This is a difficult review to write, because it’s a well crafted book and I’d like to like it, but for me, White Forest misses the mark conceptually and in its overall mood. Though some will love its dark pagan undercurrents and fuzzy mysticism, I think it’s unnecessarily confusing.

The story

White Forest is set on the edge of Hampstead Heath just after the Crimean war. The main character, a young woman called Jane Silverlake, can hear the souls of man-made objects (we’re already on shaky concept
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Wendy Darling
Well, if you compare any author to Sarah Waters, I'll be pawing at your door. Fingers crossed!
Lou
The author has crafted together a winner of a story on many levels.
He has chosen the dark and Gothicness of Victorian London amongst the days of Edgar Allen Poe and Percy shelly and set the story around a vast evergreen of beautiful and haunting of the Hempstead Heath, plagued with a deep ancient mythical past that has an ever present energy calling a particular woman Jane that traces its origins possibly backbefore man and religion treaded upon its soil.
There are big questions over the main pro
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Christy B
I love historical fantasy (that doesn't have vampires, zombies, and werewolves) and The White Forest was a perfect example of historical fantasy done right. We get the feel of the time period, but with an added mystical atmosphere.

The specific date the story takes place in is never mentioned, but it takes place after the Crimean War. The story revolves around Jane Silverlake, who has a gift, a gift I don't want to even begin to explain because I'll just ruin it. Jane is friends with Maddy and Na
...more
Evie
Written in beautiful, 19th century-sque language, full of visually sumptuous sceneries and vividly depicted, memorable characters, The White Forest is a gorgeous gothic novel that combines elements of historical fiction, fantasy, horror and romance.

Set in Victorian England, this seductive and mysterious novel tells the story of one young man's sudden disappearance and the frantic search that ensues. The well-born son of Lord William Ashe, Nathan, goes missing. It happens not long after Nathan
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Sanaa
I need more time to formulate my opinion about this book. I absolutely lived the writing, its originality, the dark Gothic tone, the Victorian and slightly steampunk setting, the vivid somewhat dense descriptions, the imperfect flawed and at times cruel characters. Then again, this left me hungry for something more, to be further convinced... Regardless I loved this and would give it 4.5 stars, may be even 5 stars. It was exactly the kind of book I like to read.

eta. I've decided this deserves a
...more
Christine
This new novel (soon to be released) is both a beautifully written and compulsively readable literary thriller. McOmber writes with an enviable imagination and the sense of foreboding, mystery and eroticism throughout - all are handled with expertise.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Originally reviewed on A Reader of Fictions.

The White Forest was not what I was expecting at all. Perhaps I should have been, but I tend not to read blurbs at all or not closely, because they sometimes contain spoilers. Anyway, I thought this was going to be a gorgeous novel of historical fiction, and it certainly starts out that way. Then it changes into fantasy horror, so be prepared for that.

The writing of The White Forest is lush, dark and gothic. I very much appreciate McOmber's style and u
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Amanda
Bizarre, is one word I would use to describe The White Forest by Adam McOmber; but not necessarily is that a bad thing. Our tale starts off on a mysterious air, quite normal enough, in a Victorian England. The imagery and mood built by the narrative is both vivid and captivating, promising us with a mystery to unravel; a crime to solve, secrets to unveil.

And then, towards the end of the novel, the world of Jane Silverlake took a tumble into a rabbit hole of her own - spiraling deeper and deeper
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Jackleen
We all go through these fazes where we just feel we can not find anything good to read. This last month that is where I have been at, in book doldrums. So, just to put it in perspective, I crave good plots and interesting characters like a diabetic looking for the next hit of sugar. And, it has been a bit thin on the ground lately, sweet wize. I went back to old tried and true favourites, but, it is not the same - no new surprises, that novelty that thrills and has you stand up at the end and sa ...more
Heidi
Three Stars: A unique gothic read that will have you thinking outside of the box.

Jane has led a solitary life since her mother passed away when she was six. She spends her days hiding in the shadows, listening to everything around her. Jane has a unique gift. She has the ability to hear and feel inanimate objects. Everything has its own distinct voice. The house servants are frightened of Jane and accuse her of devilry. Her father is lost in his own grief, he loves her but fails to see her. Jane
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Erin
I have mixed feelings about this book ~ it left me in a weird mood, kind of depressed and grouchy and blank. The imagery is cold and frigid, not of this earth. I kept picturing the landscape like one that had the life sucked out of it and all that was left was a white husk.

The story is told from the point of view of Jane Silverlake - a plain girl who sounds like she has an ethereal beauty, white skin and gray eyes. She is not a nice person, not really. She torments her maid, and her feelings for
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Rabbit { ☠ Pass the hard apple cider  ☠}
I just bought my copy on amazon. So when Sarah and I buddy read this, I have a copy no matter what.

Edit: Where to begin to describe this book?



The characters were flawed but believable. I didn't feel like punching anyone, but there were some unlikeable characters but you were supposed to hate them.



There was a love story but it didn't feel like it took over the plot, but it was a big part of the plot. The most important theme was friendship when it came to the dynamics between the three main chara
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Caitlin
A love triangle, white apes, and a cult? Oh, my!

Yes, I will admit that I was first drawn to this book in the store due to its gorgeous cover. But, then I saw the title and read the inside flap and was even more intrigued. The enchantingly strange plot sounded like everything I've wanted in a book: Girl has an unusual gift. Story takes place in a beautiful Victorian England setting. Interesting trio of friendship that soon becomes a tension-filled love triangle..

With that in mind, I had high hope
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Kelli Lee
4.5 stars

A few days after finishing The White Forest, I'm still at a loss as to how to describe it, what to say. But I'll tell you this, I fell absolutely, positively in love with the story, couldn't get enough of it, voraciously flipped its pages, for it was mantled in melancholy, a perennial gloom about it. Right up my alley.

Oddly, while reading, the brilliant movie Pan's Labyrinth would intermittently pop into my head. And oddly enough, another reviewer said the exact same thing. Natch, I had
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Georgia
A period piece that crosses into the supernatural which is heavy in description and mood. I have to say, it is very clear that Mr. McOmber has done his homework when it came to the time period and history that he was writing about. Not only that, he obviously studied the language and mannerisms that defined the time. The White Forest is thickly filled with a a usage of words that are nearly dripping in richness and beauty. The beginning of the story pulls you in with a mystery that is both confu ...more
Tara Bilbao
This book started out as a very intriguing tale and was a bit of a page turner. Unfortunately, I never received the answers that I was looking for within the storyline and many aspects of the plot were not resolved. Frequent allusions to subplots that could have been quite interesting to help the story along and given depth to the characters , were just left adrift and never investigated. The draw of the "fetches" to the cult was never explained thoroughly enough to believe that these young men ...more
David
More akin to a New Weird, a Fey fantasy or even Urban fantasy than to a real Gothic novel. Twee descriptions and prissy characters do not add up to a faux Victoria novel. The characters are much too modern to ever feel like you're experiencing the past. Constant and irritating digressions dull what very little pace there is. I was very much looking forward to a Gothic novel, and I did not find one here. It's billed as a scarey read. It's not. It's boring from start to finish.
Liza Nahas


Great gothic read, beautiful vocabulary, lush settings, intriguing characters. Reminds me of Great & Terrible Beauty and The Night Circus.
Isabelle
Aug 16, 2012 Isabelle marked it as to-read
Shelves: blog-tour, hardcover
This is exactly what I need right now. YA is making me angsty.
All Things Urban Fantasy
Fantastical and haunting, from the start THE WHITE FOREST had me glued to the page. I couldn’t tell if our narrator was out of JANE EYRE or THE TELL-TALE HEART, but Jane’s measured description of her strange world had me captivated. Jane is a contradictory mix of petty emotion and open-hearted loneliness, making her both grateful and jealous of the attention of her friends. Even more intriguing, her otherworldly gift seems simultaneously dangerous and innocuous, linked both to her mother’s death ...more
Alyssa Archambo
Jane is a girl who can hear and see the souls of man-made objects. Nature soothes her, and she sometimes gets visions of a woman covered in flowers and a still, white forest. Her mother had similar abilities, but she died when Jane was young and can't tell Jane anything about what she is. An extreme introvert, when Jane meets a girl named Maddy and a boy named Nathan, she finally comes out of her shell a little. Upon revealing her powers to them, Nathan becomes obsessed. Eventually, he goes miss ...more
Heather
I'm surprised that a male author chose to write this particular type of story. He has a good feel for the female perspective. If I hadn't already known that the author was a man I may not have been able to tell. Not that he writes women perfectly because even some women find that difficult but he definitely has insight.

Reading this reminded me of "A Great and Terrible Beauty" in a lot of ways. I don't want to take away from this story by comparing it to another but there are a lot of parallels t
...more
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Jane Silverlake is a peculiar girl. Her mother died and her father never got over it; consequently, he neglects her and their family estate in the heath of Victorian England. She barely ever leaves the house until one day, Madeline, a new girl to town rescues her from her misery and befriends her. They even allow a lord's son, Nathan, to accompany them on their daily walks and in turn, the three become fast friends. Jane isn't your normal girl though. She has a gift. She can see into the souls o ...more
Lis  (The reader lines)
My POV

The White Forest is a haunting good read. I was thrilled to discover every part of this awesome and magic world. It was like hell so difficult to write this review, coz I can’t really find the words to describe how amazing it was.
Have you read a book and felt that your heart is on a race? Have you ever questioned yourself about every part you read, what will be happen next page? Have you felt itching to catch the next chapter? Yes/No, whatever. You’ll feel that way when you start reading T
...more
Ari
Originally posted at Black Lilies Are Deadly

"The White Forest” it’s a dark and mysterious tale, but I had a love-hate relationship with this book. On one hand, I loved McOmber's enthralling writing style, but on the other I really disliked what seemed to be his main storytelling device in this story, flashbacks.

This might seem like a weird comparison, but if you are a fan, and are slightly addicted, to Asian dramas, like I am, you might notice a big similarity between this book and those; the f
...more
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Adam McOmber’s novel, The White Forest, will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, in September 2012. He is also the author of a book of short stories, This New & Poisonous Air (BOA Editions, 2011). His work has appeared in Conjunctions, StoryQuarterly, The Fairy Tale Review, Third Coast, Quarterly West, The Greensboro Review and Arts and Letters. He has been nominated ...more
More about Adam McOmber...
This New & Poisonous Air This New & Poisonous Air (American Readers Series) A Cappella Zoo #7: Fall 2011

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“I had no lock that could be picked. If anything, I was the landscape behind the door, and even on that day in the ruin, I was still only beginning to comprehend my own flora and fauna.” 6 likes
“Just before he passed behind the hedge at the end of the drive, he turned to look back at Stoke Morrow and caught me spying on him. His shining eyes were so cruel, and before I could close the curtain, I saw the flash of an awful grin on his face. It was a grin that said he knew I'd come around. Sooner or later, I'd fall in line.” 4 likes
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