Everyone in Edgewood believes their annual tithes at the fall festival are what purchase Edgewood’s safety, but as Faye and her husband prepare to take over as town stewards—a long tradition carried out by her family for generations—they learn the terrible truth: in order to guarantee the town’s safety, the forest demands an unthinkable sacrifice.
In the midst of everything, Faye is secretly battling debilitating postpartum anxiety that makes her all the more terrified to leave the safe cocoon of her enchanted town.
When everyone turns against her—including her own husband—Faye is forced to flee with her infant son into the forest. She must face whatever lurks there and, perhaps most frightening of all, the dark torments of her own mind.
The Forest is an adult folk horror novel appealing to fans of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and Bird Box by Josh Malerman, with a hint of The Changeling by Victor LaValle. It is Quigley’s debut novel.
Title: The Forest | Author: Lisa Quigley | Publisher: Perpetual Motion Machine | Pub. Date: 5 October 2021 | Pages: 244 | ISBN: 9781943720620 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Source: Purchased || Starred Review
The Forest Review
Lisa Quigley uses motherhood and folk horror to craft a new tale of a community gone wrong. Faye, despite her recent struggle with postpartum, has been safe and happy within the boundaries of Edgewood. Ready but a little reluctant to step into a leadership role, she soon finds the forest and the people she loves are not what they seem.
A year ago or more, I was lucky enough to read the first bits of this novel in one of its earliest forms. The atmosphere and the little bit of the plot I experienced stuck with me as I waited and hoped that The Forest would find a home. The final form holds all the things I loved in that early preview and so much more. Set up to move from the present to the past, the timeline is well crafted and feels almost as if the reader is in Faye’s head as she does what so many do: thinks back on all the things that led her to where she is at that moment.
To be a parent is to know horror, and Quigley holds nothing back. Parenthood is also one of the more difficult things to incorporate into fiction, especially something as solitary as postpartum, because there is such a wild variety of experiences and parenting choices. From Faye’s inner turmoil to how often (and how long) she breastfeeds her son, every choice makes sense for this character in this situation. There are several moments that reached something in my mom heart and I sat back and thought how stunning it was that a feeling I remembered was laid out right there in plain text. Something intangible that I had never tried to put out into the world, was suddenly there and incorporated into a story I just couldn’t tear myself away from.
Personal experiences aside, The Forest is sure to find fans with readers who love folk horror, character driven choices, and just a really well told story. Because at the end of the day, all we really want is just a great story to get lost in for awhile, and what better place than in an ominous forest and in the hands of an author with a fantastic imagination. The Forest is Quigley’s debut novel, and if it’s any indication of what readers can come to expect from her long form work, then they are surely in for a treat with whatever she comes up with next. Be sure to check this one out.
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Tracy joined Sc-Fi and Scary in September 2018. She reviews horror books for the site and bemoans our general lack of grammar, but puts up with us because she loves us anyway. Feel free to reach out on Twitter and Instagram at @tracy_reads79, or on Goodreads as well!
Tracy is also part of the Ladies of Horror Fiction crew.
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