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In the Night Wood

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  273 ratings  ·  117 reviews
In this contemporary fantasy, the grieving biographer of a Victorian fantasist finds himself slipping inexorably into the supernatural world that consumed his subject.

American Charles Hayden came to England to forget the past.

Failed father, failed husband, and failed scholar, Charles hopes to put his life back together with a biography of Caedmon Hollow, the long-dead aut
Hardcover, 214 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published October 2018)
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Diane S ☔
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 Unbearable loss and grief, a failing marriage, a literary obsession bring Erin and Charles to the dusty Manor that Erin inherited from her ancestor, Caedmon Hollow. A Victorian children's novel, the only work that Caedmon would leave before he committed suicide, stirs a fascination in Charles, one he hopes to turn into a worthy dissertation. There are, however, more things than can be rationally explained, in the woods behind the house.

Mixing folklore, an obscure novel, and a newly discovere
IN THE NIGHT WOOD was my first novel by Dale Bailey but I'm sure it won't be my last!

Within the pages of this dark fiction narrative is a fairy-tale like story, but no "happily ever after" ending is promised. A couple inherits an old manor located in the countryside of England, on the edge of a large, dark wood. Amidst the grief and guilt they feel due to a recent family tragedy, Charles and Erin feel like a move might be the very thing they need. But of course, in true fairy tale fashion, thin
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Now that the weather is finally turning gloomy, you might be looking for an atmospheric read. Look no further! This book blends folklore, English countryside, mysterious books, missing children, and a wood that beckons....

I enjoyed Bailey's short stories that I also read this year, and I may have a slight preference for those because they were more along the lines of dark fantasy and sometimes humorous, always full of humanity. Sometimes I felt trapped in this book because it gets a bit circular
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Charles Hayden is watching his life and his marriage go down the drain. An Affair. His daughter dying. He and Erin have just drifted apart. Then his wife inherits the Hollow family home. Hollow House. Maybe the house, the money, the new start will make everything ok? Charles and Erin don't realize that Hollow House and the Eorl Wood surrounding it hold dark secrets. Very dark secrets.

This story unfolds like a deep, dark, demented fairy tale. An old house sitting in the middle of the deep, dark w
Helen Power
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
When he was just a young boy, Charles Hayden discovered a mysterious Victorian children’s book called “In the Night Wood”.  Years later, Charles is a failing scholar who is obsessed with the book that so greatly influenced his life. His wife is a distant relative of Caedmon Hollow, the author of "In the Night Wood".  When she inherits Hollow’s home, he moves there with her to run away from their shared tragic past--the death of their six-year-old daughter.  Charles hopes that he can use this opp ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a free e-copy of In The Night Wood by Dale Bailey from NetGalley for my honest review.

A tale about a couple, who is grieving the death of their young daughter. They move to a remote estate in England that the mother inherits, to escape the reminders. Some very strange and eerie things begin to happen. The couple begins to see thing. Are they really seeing these thing, creatures or are they so grief stricken they are seeing things. A very dark, eerie fantasy.

Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Dale Bailey’s new novel In the Night Wood is assertive with its intertextuality. It begins with two epigraphical quotes, one from Mircea Eliade’s The Forbidden Forest and the other from the Brothers’ Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel”. A prelude follows that “quotes” its fictitious novel-within-a-novel called In the Night Wood, attributed to the (also fictitious) obscure Victorian writer Caedmon Hollow. The Forbidden Forest is about a man who, after the death of his wife and child, searches for his est ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars for this effort by Dale Bailey. I found myself getting immersed into the setting the author created in this book , i could see the trees , the old house and even the bar itself, this book had a sense of the ethereal in it so I enjoyed that part. But scenery a book does not make and I felt that while the story started strong it kept losing more and more complexity as it went forward and by the end it had lost any foundation that it had on the beginning . Great effort but felt flat towar ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve actually read Dale Bailey before. Ages ago. I vaguely recall an old paperback, liking it. But the main reason I wanted to read this book was the title/cover/description combination promising a dark fairy tale. I love fairy tales and dark is absolutely the best variety of them. And so this was one. A fairy tale for adults. About two adults who move to a great old manor in a pastoral England to try to get past the death of their young daughter only to discover the nearby woods just might be d ...more
Pop Bop
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Cernunnos Would Approve

I very much enjoyed this, but I do think this is the kind of book you have to adjust to and make allowances for as you read it. Allow me to explain.

We start out dark, creepy, and full of portent. As a youngster our hero, Charles, comes across a copy of Victorian Caedmon Hollow's strange and eldritch children's book "In the Night Wood". This disturbing book not only informs and dictates the flow of the rest of the story, it completely establishes and ordains the path of our
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!

Thanks to Edelweiss for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! This will be published October 9th.

1/5 – DNF at 47%

CW: child death

Wow, I’m not having good luck with the spooky reads, am I?

I swore I would like this. A man who loses a daughter, going to England to live in the house of a man he’s writing a biography of. His wife is some sort of distant relative and they go together, hoping to put away the past. But, as what happens, the past keeps coming ba
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: rated-3
Enjoyed this dark and eerie fantasy, but a little dissapointed that all the action happened in the last few pages of the book. Still it was intertaining to read.
La La - Everyone's Crazy Aunt
4.5 stars on the blog.

This author packed a lot of story into less than 250 pages! The writing is lush without being dense. If you loved The Hazel Wood, this is its adult sister. It is one of the best books I have read this year. I couldn't put it down. It took me firmly by the hand and said, "Come with me."

I was approved for an eARC, via Netgalley, in return for an honest review.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
But there was too much between them now. Too much history, too much blame and grief, too many inarticulate resentments for such intimacy.

Some wonderful writing in this tale of a couple struggling with a horrific life event. A seemingly good turn of fortune sets them up in an estate in England which on the surface may be the change of scenery they needed. Unfortunately the mystery surrounding the lineage behind the estate, the tales of the surrounding woods and the disappearances from the local
Megan Lyons
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gothic
I had a really hard time getting through this, and kept reading other books because I was struggling so much with this one. It was very slow moving. I don't mind a slow build mystery, and I like a slow creeping sense of unease in my scary stories, but this just felt needlessly wordy, and overly introspective. It felt more like a book about people dealing with tragedy and loss, than a scary story. That doesn't need to be a bad thing if it's done well. However, the protagonist was so unlikable tha ...more
Crystal King
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
In the Night Wood tells the tale of a couple, grieving from the death of their young daughter, escaping to the wife's ancestral mansion in northern England. Both Charles and Erin see the image of their dead daughter wherever they look, and both see a mysterious horned figure looming in the woods beyond their home. This is a dark, spooky story that has some pacing issues. I wanted more excitement a little earlier in the story and for the tension to keep me going, but instead it felt more like a c ...more
Joe Jones
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the slow burn gothic feel to this story but there was a part that I really did not like. I am torn how much it should effect the overall rating. This is one of those times I wish we could do half stars. I don't like to round up for ratings so will stick with my 3 stars.
Wendy Wagner
Prologues are rarely a reward, but in this little volume, the prologue is glorious and stunningly magical. That magic carries through into the book's setting--a charming little English village and an elaborate mansion straight out of a Gothic novel, spooky forested grounds and all. Every scene set out on the woods is unsettling but beautiful.

The beginning and the very end of this book are absolutely fabulous. But I didn't feel like the characters, who grow a bit tedious, quite lived up to the wo
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction, kindle, arc
Arc provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

A grieving couple move from America to a remote estate in England to escape the lingering reminders of a recent tragedy and to study the life of a long dead reclusive writer who published one very strange fairy tale inspired novel. To no one's surprise, creepy things then begin to happen. In the Night Wood is a fairy tale inspired dark mystery that foists upon the reader a foreboding feeling of unease as the author dangles uns
Alysa H.
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
One of the most creepily atmospheric books I've read in some time, Dale Bailey's übergothic In the Night Wood did not disappoint.

The lead character, Charles Hayden, is not an especially likeable person. I'm not sure whether this was intentional, but it's ultimately irrelevant in that one can nonetheless feel for him in his grief over his dead child. Charles' wife, Erin Hayden, is ostensibly an equal lead character and also has POV sections, but she lacks Charles' complexity, instead functioning
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
A Grimm inspired gothic horror tale, In The Night Wood brings out the best in subtlety and slow boil horror. The author unspools the creepy tale along side an intricate dissection of the protagonist’s emotional/psychological state after the death of his daughter.
Perfectly paced and lyrical, this is a perfect stew of the fantastic, horrific and psychological.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
If you are a fan of victorian gothics, definitely give this one a try.

I would have liked this more if the protagonist hadn't been a completely unlikable, awful, selfish husband and individual. That being said, it gets points for gothic atmosphere and well done 'is it real or is it hallucination' scenes.
Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
2.5 stars for this one but I'm going to go up because I may be rating it lower due to the book not being what I wanted it to be. In the Night Wood was bleak. It was not a vibrant or uplifting book in any way and where that may have been okay had it fallen on the horror spectrum, I expected more. I suppose that is my review in a few words: I expected more.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful read that falls somewhere on the dark fantasy/horror spectrum. Bailey conjures up an oppressive atmosphere with both the environment of the story and the weight of memory placed upon his characters shoulders. Highly recommended.
Lynn Williams
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
In the Night Wood is a book that I finished with mixed feelings. On the one hand I loved the gothic premise, the idea of an old mansion and an enchanted forest. The writing is really impressive and there are so many bookish quotes and references that you couldn’t throw a stick around these pages without hitting something of note. It’s also a relatively quick read and I can’t deny that the idea of the dark forest that seems to almost have a mind of it’s own
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

In the Night Wood is a short novel that is nevertheless not an easy read. A dark fantasy, it features an antihero who is an adulterous, failed parent and struggling scholar, and whose wife is a descendent of Caedmon Hollow, English author of the titular story, "In the Night Wood." At a fortuitous moment, American Charles Hayden and his grief-stricken wife Erin find themselves the beneficiaries of her recently deceased Hollow ancestor, who bestowed Hollow House, its lands and its fortune
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story is almost over the top gothic. It begins with a husband and wife, Charles and Erin Hayden, inheriting a fortune and a huge manor house in England, one surrounded with primeval forest. They are a miserable pair; he had an affair with a co-worker, their daughter died as a direct result of this, his academic career is stalled, and the wife has retreated into a haze of alcohol and prescription drugs. They hope this move will help them move on, but the house belonged to Caedmon Hollow, who ...more
In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey was described as being a Dark Fantasy, sometimes as being Horror. For me, it isn't anything of this. There are some Fantasy aspects later on, but this isn't nearly enough to fit into this genre. But one thing is right indeed: the story is very dark.
It's more a story of a young family, of loss, death and grief. This coupled with an old Victorian house, a creepy wood nearby and some myths and legends could have been a great story.

The problem I had with this book is
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, rounded up for exceptional atmosphere.

In the Night Wood is a gorgeously creepy, atmospheric tale that blends a number of high gothic tropes into a modern ghost story.

The plot is average to perhaps a tick above average for the genre, competently done with no major flaws but also with nothing that makes it a standout.

Atmospherically, however, it's a triumph. The delightful slow creep of the not-quite-rightness of the townspeople and the house mixed with the overt menace of the woods
Sarah Perchikoff
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was not a bad book. It's actually very well-written which is why I found it so unbelievably depressing to read. So much bad happens and then more bad happens or you learn about bad stuff that happened in the past. I would like to give a huge trigger warning for anyone who has an issue reading about the death of a child. If I had a kid, I would not be able to read this. It was hard enough as it is. But let's get to the review!

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

American Charles Hayden came to England
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Dale was born in West Virginia in 1968, and grew up in a town called Princeton, just north of the Virginia line. His stories have appeared in lots of places—The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Sci-Fiction, Lightspeed Magazine, and various anthologies. Several of them have been nominated for awards, and “Death and Suffrage,” later filmed as part ...more