The Girl of Dorcha Wood

by Kristin Ward

3.5 stars, actually. I read an ARC given to me for an honest review.

This version contained missed words or strange phrases every 5-10 pages that I’m sure the final editing will catch, so possibly some of my opinion is formed by circumstances that readers will not encounter. Your mileage may vary.

We encounter with Fiadh, a young girl alone in the woods, a man beset by other men with swords. Just as she wins the encounter he espies Fiadh and runs into the wood to attack her before collapsing. She, of course, must nurse him back to health.

The man remembers who he is, but not the circumstances that brought him to Dorcha Wood. So while Fiadh and her mother live their secluded life in the wood, hidden away from the villagers and their cruel Lord Darragh, he is slowly trying to remember, and Fiadh is keeping secrets about just who helped her save the man and her connection with the wood.

This is definitely a first book in a series, serious cliffhanger alert. But I think what made me a little dissatisfied with Fiadh was how she kind of went along with Gideon against all her instincts, against her own good sense upon seeing what happened to her mother, and against her forest friends’ wishes. It made me lose a little sympathy for her, actually. Much of this book is spent with Fiadh kind of waiting around living her life, which is great, but doesn’t make for the most interesting of plots. When she and the man are traveling, they have the same argument over and over again, and instead of the argument I wished for more little challenges on the road to explain her wishy washiness.

We do switch POVs a couple times and get the really, imaginatively cruel POV of Lord Darragh a couple times. Yikes. Kudos to the author for coming up with some truly awful, evil villains (double yikes his mother). At the end of this book I’m inteterested to see how the author might bring together the separate threads of Fiadh, her protectors, Lord Darragh, and the last-minute appearance of important characters heavily foreshadowed to appear.

Despite Fiadh’s youth, this felt like a slightly older YA story, with nice references to Irish mythology and implications about bad things that can happen to women alone in the forest, but on screen only some light kissing.