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In the Night Wood

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  2,002 ratings  ·  438 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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Average rating 3.41  · 
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 ·  2,002 ratings  ·  438 reviews

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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
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
This was such a wonderful surprise of a book! It tells the story of American Charles Hayden and his lifelong connection to a mid-19th century book, also named 'In the Night Wood' written by a mysterious man named Caedmon Hollow. When his wife Erin, a descendant of Caedmon Hollow, inherits Hollow's home Charles and Erin decide to move to England to start a new chapter of their life and try to come to terms with the recent death of their little girl. But a new chapter isn't that easy to start as i ...more
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
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
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
In the Night Wood is just the kind of book I like to read. A story about a married couple who move to a new house. A house that the wife has inherited. A house with secrets and surrounded by an ancient oak forest. A forest that is so deep that you can get lost in it...

Now I had the pleasure of both listen to the audio version and reading the book. I think I preferred listening to the book which could be because John Banks did such an excellent job. As for the story itself. It's perfectly OK. How
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
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
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.

Renee Godding
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
"It was haunted, of course, Hollow House. But they were all haunted; Erin and Charles, Harris, Mrs Ramsdon too. And although mr Ramsdon sins and failures and regrets, like those of Anne Marrow or Dr Colbach, have but glancing significance in this story, they were each of them protagonists in other tales, with their own dramas, their flights of joy and their plunges into sorrow. Once upon a time, no life too humble, no event too insignificant: every story is a ghoststory."

A very interesting conc
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
An evocative gothic fantasy with the most incredible atmosphere, In The Night Wood has my favourite things: a strange, dark wood and a mysterious old house. Also, secrets and many literary allusions. All these factors make me a little bit biased.

I might have enjoyed this one even more had I liked the characters better (they're not overly easy to empathise with, admittedly), but considering I almost unhauled this, I'm glad I didn't and found the time to read it.

> 4.2 stars
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
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
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 (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
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not going to lie- I totally requested this book based on 2 things: the cover #hearteyes and the title. I am so easy to engage sometimes! haha… General fiction doesn’t often find its way to my reading list, so naturally- slightly afraid at how this was going to turn out. But, In the Night Wood turned out to be one of those books that takes the description “atmospheric” to another level!

Charles and wife Erin are in deep mourning after the death of their young daughter. So, when Erin inherits the
Hannah Greendale
2019 Best Books of the Year [#08 of 11]
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this one as much as I'd hoped to, and I don't really know why. Even though there was a distinct whiff of gothic about it, it didn't pull me in, possibly this was more to do with my pesky real life intrusions and less to do with the story, as the GR reviews are really positive. I have to say though, the cover of my library hardback copy (not the one shown unfortunately) is a thing of beauty. ...more
I enjoyed this a lot but couldn’t jump beyond three stars. The prose is excellent but the pace is a little slow and the plot somewhat derivative and predictable. I generally like Bailey’s writing but he seems to be getting lost in a little bit of formula of late. Still he can crank out a real chiller like “Snow” when inspired. His shorter work tends to be his best.
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
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.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Should have DNF'd

I almost stopped reading this a few times. I should have. It was not good. The prose was ok. But this was not good. Charles is maybe one of the worst people to exist. Definitely the worst in the book. I think we're supposed to feel sorry for him. But I don't, cause he's terrible.

Also, if you're looking for an example of how incredibly difficult it is for men to write women and girls (most men usually have met women and girls in the real world, right...?), this is a great book to
Carolyn Klassen
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Atmospheric, hazy, slow. The plot takes ages to reach the actual fantasy. Definitely beyond the halfway point before we get into the dark fantasy elements so a lot of foreshadowing and exposition.
Audra (ouija.reads)
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-adjacent
A gothic dark fantasy fairytale, In the Night Wood weaves a story of loss and grief and how the past keeps rearing its head, no matter how far you run.

I loved how this story drops the reader completely in medias res. It doesn’t try to cater to the reader and catch them up on the story thus far. It just lets the characters live their lives and details are revealed slowly and naturally. I really appreciated the way the author trusted me as a reader to understand and stick with the story even thoug
Charles and Erin are Americans who inherit a house in England built in the 19th century for a folklorist and writer. They decide to move countries for a new start after the death of their young daughter. Both of them are haunted by visions of their child and the mysterious woods that surround the property offer more fuel for this. I thought this was going to be a supernatural tale with much spookiness but it turned into a simple crime novel with the addition of two people struggling with their g ...more
Mark Young
A slow, but intriguing, burn. Beautiful prose, imagery and atmospherics. Characters are expected given the premise. But all in all and enjoyable book.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, favorites
In the Night Wood by Caedmon Hollow is a book that has has followed Charles Hayden from childhood when he felt compelled to steal a copy from his grandfather's library, to university when his discovery of a copy brought him to distraction making him bump into his wife-to-be for the first time - who happens to be a long distant relative to Hollow. Now, years later the pair have traveled to take up residence at Hollow Hall after the estate found Erin to be the current heir. However, Charles and Er ...more
Aug 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: disappointments
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The past is never dead. It's not even past.” - William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

Lissa is dead.
Lissa is dead.
Lissa is dead.

Haunting eerie mediation and brain toxicity of loss, ghosts, and uncovering perplexities of marital discourse over loss, of most beloved, and fathers search for the sources that influenced the writing of In the Night Wood by Caedmon Hollow, and the ghost of Caedmon Hollow, the folklore and fact of it.

Guilt, grief, Illusions, seeing things, dreams, nightmares, “So many thin
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
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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 of ...more

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