Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In Wilderness” as Want to Read:
In Wilderness
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

In Wilderness

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  730 ratings  ·  218 reviews
For readers of Ron Rash, Thomas H. Cook, and Tim Johnston, In Wilderness is a suspenseful and literary love story hailed by New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson as “heartbreaking, bold, relentless” and “the work of a true original.”

In the wi
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Bantam
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In Wilderness, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Dia I wouldn't call In Wilderness a love story. I see it as a story of determination and survival. It is written in lyrical, flowing prose. The details of…moreI wouldn't call In Wilderness a love story. I see it as a story of determination and survival. It is written in lyrical, flowing prose. The details of her preparation for living away from civilization, the items she takes, what she finds when she gets there all contribute to engaging the reader in her plight.
This book reminds me of how I felt as a child reading The Secret Garden. I want to pretend to be Katherine. I want to play, "In Wilderness." I also want to warn Katherine from the perspective of now, 50 years later. Katherine is not one of those back-to-the-land hippies. This is a fresh take on what would motivate a woman, an advertising executive, to give it all up for total solitude. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  730 ratings  ·  218 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of In Wilderness
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: Elyse Walters
In 1966 Katherine Reid is giving a death sentence. Her doctor tells her that she has less than six months to live. There is no name for the disease that is causing her body aches and continual vomiting. In a few short months her vital organs will begin to shut down.
Katherine does not want to die in a hospital. She wants to die on her own terms. So she buys a small cabin in the mountains of North Georgia.
She leaves her ad agency job and takes just what she can carry and moves into the cabin. Her
3.5 Stars

"Thirty-eight seems young to die. But maybe if you're ninety-six so does ninety-seven."

Sad and discouraged by loss, tragedy and a death sentence, thirty-eight year old Katherine Reid (and her gun) move to a remote cabin in the Appalachian Mountains to spend her last days, but soon finds she is actually feeling better and is not really alone, and when twenty year old Danny Maclean appears on the scene, a lusty and "weird" relationship develops that soon progresses to darkness and dan

Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
'It's not a plan. A plan requires a future.'

Katherine Reid is 38 years old and she is dying. She can't eat, can't sleep, and her strength is slowly ebbing. Doctors are unable to pinpoint what is killing her, what they do know is that she has only a matter of months to live before her organs start shutting down. Unwilling to die in a hospital, Katherine decides to buy a cabin in the middle of nowhere, a place where she can make peace with herself and where she can make the determination of when t
Cathrine ☯️
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: group-challenge
Two disparate and damaged souls seeking extreme solutions to their physical and mental disabilities collide in a remote Appalachian wilderness in the late 1960s. Initially it’s a cat and mouse game for one, Russian roulette for the other.
The reader is kept off balance with the author’s intent. Is this unfolding as a nail biting thriller, à la the movie Deliverance, or perhaps something else?
The spare, raw, and mesmerizing prose explores the twin sides of physical and psychological despair and
In Wilderness is a literary fiction novel written by author Diane Thomas. After finishing this book, my thoughts about it felt somewhat disorganized. I could not write a review right away. All I knew was that in some strange, deranged way, I loved it...every dysfunctional and haunting thing about it. I think I can put my thoughts down now. I won't say that I can do it justice, because I know I can't. But here it goes...

On Ms. Thomas's goodreads author page, she provides some insights regarding h
Diane S ☔
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
3rd review,
Still in the ICU but
Waiting for a bed.

I finished this about a week ago and while there were many things I liked, there was some I didn't. In another thread a few friends and I were, discussing how we each need different things from a story, how we identify with characters or plots. Interesting conversations and now after my recent hospital experiences my review has been hijacked because I identified in a big way with Catherine. A young woman basically being poisoned with modernism, al
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this disturbing story about two broken, both physically and mentally, souls living deep in the wilderness. The writing is just beautiful ~ almost dreamlike ~ evoking all the senses. It's unlike anything I have read.

After finishing the book and reading the acknowledgments, I discovered my mother's cousin married the author's sister.
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
The year is 1966 and Katherine Reid receives a heartbreaking diagnosis. She is dying from a terminal illness. The doctors can't even figure out what's wrong with her, only that she is dying. So, she sells everything's she owns and moves far away to a cabin in Georgia's Appalachian Mountains. Her plan is to spend her last months in solitude and she has brought with her a gun to end it if it gets too painful towards the end. But she doesn't know that she is not alone. In the forest, someone is wat ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.8 Rating

"Into the Woods".....and off we go....

Haunting, haunted, and increasingly borders on insanity.....(as novels go) ....a little 'creepy'!
Yet, the writing is luminous! You HAVE to keep reading! It will drive you nuts 'not-to'.

As Katherine tries to face mortality with courage, having been overexposed to a pesticide, alone in a Cabin she purchased--
Danny, a younger man, living with post-traumatic stress disorder, is stalking her from the other side of the mountain.
The entire first half of
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jill by: Dorine

2.5 stars

Connie G
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diane Thomas has written a tale of suspense and passion about two individuals who retreat to the wilderness, unable to survive in the modern world. Katherine, an advertising executive, is wasting away and her doctors told her she only has months to live. (She has an unknown illness in the 1960s, which we would describe today as multiple chemical sensitivities.) She buys a cabin deep in the mountains of Georgia to live out her final days.

Danny, a Vietnam vet, cannot function since witnessing the
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
Katherine sells off her share of an ad agency and leaves her big city life when she learns that she is dying, her body slowly slipping away.  And where she goes is to a lonely cabin in a beautiful wilderness--to die peacefully of natural causes, or to speed things up a bit herself once she gets there.   Things don't always work out as planned.  By her taking over this cabin, a squatter named Danny uprooted and relocated himself, Katherine knowing nothing of him.  But he knows all about her, even ...more
Carmen Blankenship
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing-Bantam Dell for the advanced copy in exchange for this honest review.

There is no arguing the fact that Diane Thomas is a talented author. Her blunt and and at times poetic prose is firmly on display In Wilderness. The reason I gave this only three stars has nothing to do with quality of the writing. The three stars is because I despised both character which made it hard for me to see the light in this dark tale. I don't mind a dark story or goin
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing

As I read the final chapter and epilogue for the third time, like an addict hoping to extend the buzz, I experience the same soothing intoxication from the prose each time. The effects on my body are pleasantly the same. Not quite weightlessness but I feel less of gravity’s tug, as if an infinitesimally thin gap of nothing exists between me and the seat of the chair.

It’s the highly charged emotional energy of the story that causes this sensation. It ripples and pulsates from the pages
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecolit, appaliachian
Wow. I am not sure what to say, except, again, Wow. What a delight to come across a writer not many have heard of before, and find such emotional depth and skillful artistry. This is one of the best books I've read this year. Maybe ever. This won't be for everyone. Read some reviews and decide before adding to your to read list. It is disturbing and raw in places, heartbreaking in others, but also transcendent. For folks who love wilderness/nature, this is a must. Think female Thoreau. The autho ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I was sucked into this book mostly due to my recently developing fantasy to “run away from home” and hide is a cabin in the woods. This is pure fantasy, of course, and not anything I could or would ever do. But, that is why we read fiction. I liked the book, but did not love it. The writing was not amazing, and the story got bogged down at times and became quite monotonous.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jamie by: Paul Swanson
Easily a contender for my favorites this year. Could not be more in my wheelhouse. The solitude, the wilderness, the complex psychological stakes. Quiet and disquieting, fearsome and lovely, haunting and profound. Thomas took thirty years to write this, and it feels both old and new, in a wonderful way. She gripped me right from the start and held on. The coda was perfect. One of those books where I can’t believe it exists, and am so glad it does.
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
I’m always hungering for a book that will make me forget I am reading. A book that will make me take a pass on doing the shopping, forget the milk out on the counter, and burn dinner. In Wilderness, by Diane Thomas is that kind of book.

It begins quietly: an expectant mother feels her baby flutter for the first time. But this is not some saccharine, worn out by overuse Women’s fiction trope; it couldn’t be anything further. For in the next chapter that same baby is dead, killed possibly by the an
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Way down yonder, in the meadow,
Poor little baby crying mama,
Birds and the butterflies flutter 'round his eyes,
Poor little baby crying mama."

Setting:Georgia’s Appalachian Mountains; 1966-1968

Coverly Love?:Yes! It perfectly captures the haunting nature of this book.

Plot:Katherine Reid is dying, or at least that’s what the doctors tell her. She once had a highly successful career at an advertising firm, a loving husband, and a baby on the way. But after she lost both her baby and her husband
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it
This is well written. It's also very dark. It's about 2 people with isolating and horrendous illnesses.

Many people will like this far more than I did. The parts narrated from Danny's thoughts became so distasteful to me that I skipped huge tracts of them. I already "got" it.

Katherine's cognition was not as soured but as difficult, maybe more so. So I don't know how you can say that this is a novel for any "enjoyment" level quotient. It's barely a 2 on that, maybe 1.5 star. And actually the plot
If you love twists in fiction with unusual, bizarre, warped characters that make you wonder about their sanity, and then yours as well for getting sucked up into their world, never quite sure how it will end, thinking about it for days after the last page, then this 1960s thriller is for you.

During the 1960s, women in the corporate world in high-powered positions are not the norm. But Kate is that anomaly. Kate who worked beside her husband in their advertising agency, until she receives the con
Judy D Collins
A special thank you to Random House Publishing Group, Bantam Dell, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

IN WILDERNESS, by Diane Thomas is an emotional and riveting literary fiction of illness, danger, obsession, and love, set in the North Georgia Mountains of two troubled souls igniting, for a compelling and moving thriller.

Katherine is a thirty-eight year old woman, a former successful professional of an advertising agency in Atlanta in the early sixties. Her life has b
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it
3.0 out of 5 stars - Haunting, extremely disturbing, somewhat depressing -- I had to take a little time to get my thoughts ordered after finishing this one. The prose paints a very poignant picture of loneliness mashed up with near psychosis. The details of the wilderness and Katherine's isolation, along with her physical illness, made me anxious and fearful. I perceived Danny as a dangerous menace immediately, and willed him to stay away from her even as I knew she was emotionally needy given h ...more
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, literary
In Wilderness by Diane Thomas is an intimate and atmospheric book of terminal illness, isolation, the stages of grief, and of love. Katherine Reid is given a terminal diagnosis in 1966 and moves to a cabin deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Her chosen cabin is remote, isolated, and has the bare essentials, surrounded by beauty she is allowed to grieve in her own way, but Diane is not alone. Vietnam veteran Danny lives in a grand mansion, known as the “Gatsby House”, in his own way is isolated an ...more
PennsyLady (Bev)
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway
In Wilderness
Diane Thomas

Time: winter 1966
Setting: isolated wilderness in Georgia's Appalachian Mountains

"Told she is dying of the mysterious illness that plagues her, thirty-eight-year-old Katherine Reid moves to a remote cabin in the southern mountains to live out her last days.
But in this peaceful solitude, her life may still be in terrible danger: A damaged young man also lives in the forest, and he watches her every move." (publishers note)

Danny (20) is a PTSD veteran traumatized by experie
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: librarything
This is such a beauty of a book. I finished it a couple of days ago and haven't even wanted to pick up another book yet as I wanted to stay with the thoughts of this book for a while. This may well be my favorite book of the year so far and I consider it a strong 5-star book.

Two lonely souls, Katherine and Danny, are each trying to heal from their individual hardships of life in this beautiful wilderness. The author does such a masterful job of bringing these two people to life and digs down de
Absolute 5 star read for me.

This book promised something out of the ordinary and boy did it deliver.

After turning the last page I sat and wondered how I would write a review that could convey all that I was feeling. Instead I just started typing the words that came to mind -
at times terrifying
gut wrenching
masterful in setting the scenes
kept me off balance and on my toes
tear jerking
laid bare
heart w
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is definitely not a beautiful love story. I'd say a sick obsession that borders on creepiness and insanity! The two main characters take love and loneliness to another level. The doctors tell Katherine Reid that she is dying. She decides to wait for death in the wilderness of the Appalachian Mountains. Danny, a Vietnam vet with PSTD, watches her from afar. He becomes obsessed and has to have her. When these two lost souls meet the story explodes into destructive passion and twisted des ...more
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Creepy. I really didn't like the first half of the book but something made me keep reading it. Pretty disturbing look at 2 people who have psychological problems. Danny is a war veteran with PTSD and Katherine has environmental illness. They end up meeting and have a very disturbing relationship with each other. Like I said before creepy. The second half of the book is better because there is more interaction between the two characters and you want to find out what happens next.
Great story~ Fever pitch~ Evocative like a dream, like a nightmare~ Psychological intrigue~ Celebration of Nature~ Intensive self-discovery~ Empowering parable~ Beautifully written~ Favorite 2015!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Book Haven: Win In Wilderness by Diane Thomas! 1 7 Jun 04, 2015 08:34AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee
  • The Possible World
  • The 13-Minute Murder
  • Dead Man Running
  • 113 Minutes
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins | Complete Summary & Analysis With Bonuses!
  • Long Bright River
  • Dead Watch
  • The Weight of Water
  • Where the Light Enters (The Waverly Place #2)
  • Dear Enemy
  • Summer Longing
  • Persons Unknown (DS Manon, #2)
  • The Line That Held Us
  • American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI
  • Boardwalk Summer
  • The Godmother
  • Burn: A Sam Jameson Thriller
See similar books…
My second novel, In Wilderness, a literary thriller inspired in part by the haunting southern Appalachian folk ballads of violence and erotic obsession, was also my first. I wrote it in 1981 to distract myself from fears of dying, during an extended period of extreme ill health. I titled this early version The Clearing, gave my symptoms to its protagonist, and sent her into a Georgia mountain wild ...more

News & Interviews

Are you having a difficult time reading these days? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic began, I've found it harder to concentrate on...
76 likes · 35 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“down hard on the soft part of your hand, but not so” 0 likes
More quotes…