Book Highlight: Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece

book highlight wildwood whispers willa reece
wildwood whispers

Title: Wildwood Whispers

Author: Willa Reece

Publisher: Redhook

Publication Date: August 17, 2021

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Magical Realism

Step into a world of hope, fate, and folk magic in this bewitching debut when a young woman travels to a sleepy southern town in the Appalachian Mountains to honor her best friend. 

Mel Smith’s life is shattered after the sudden death of her best friend, Sarah Ross. In an effort to fulfill a final promise to Sarah and find herself again, Mel travels to an idyllic small town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. But Morgan’s Gap is more than she ever expected.

There are secrets that call to Mel, from a salvaged remedy book filled with the magic of simple mountain traditions to the connection she feels to the Ross homestead and the wilderness around it. 

With every taste of sweet honey and tart blackberries, the wildwood twines further into Mel’s broken heart. But a threat lingers in the woods—one that may have something to do with Sarah’s untimely death and has now set its sights on Mel. 

The wildwood is whispering. It has secrets to reveal—if you’re willing to listen . . .

Why This Book

Wildwood Whispers is set in a small town in the Appalachian Mountains. Mel isn’t the one with the connection to the town; her friend Sarah was from it. But, when Sarah dies, Mel must travel to this small town to bring Sarah’s ashes home. She thinks it’s just going to be a quick trip, but there’s a garden at Sarah’s family’s cabin, one that has decided Mel is to be it’s next caretaker, so it slowly winds itself around Mel’s heart, giving her powers she’d never had before, and making her into an integral part of life for the small town. I loved this garden. It backs onto a forest, so it feels cultivated, but also a little wild. It was beautiful and magical, and probably one of my favorite magic gardens.


My review: “Wildwood Whispers is a fun, magical, witchy read. I loved that some of the people had certain abilities, certain magical parts of their beings. I also loved the care it took with the natural world. It’s detailed and lush and there’s clearly a huge tie between the people and the wildwood”

and other tales said “While the wrapping up of the central mystery and conflict felt a little sloppily handled and I wish the romance could have had a stronger pay out for the amount of time invested, I very much enjoyed my time slowing down and absorbing this very arresting, naturalistic story with its beautiful female friendships and tantalizing descriptions of food. Oh, and the most adorable little witch familiar mouse that deserved so many more pages then it was given”

Books, Bones & Buffy gave this 4 stars, saying “I loved the story’s folksy vibe and the familial love the characters have for each other. This one really grew on me the more I read, and readers who are in the mood for a feel good story of female empowerment and subtle magic will enjoy this as well”

The Fiction Fox gave this 5 stars, saying “Wildwood Whispers sets up an ambitious multi-layered story with some heavier underlying themes, and somehow manages to hit it home without missing a beat. With lyrical, descriptive prose, Reece brings to life the town of Morgan’s Gap and all its inhabitants, enveloping the reader like the misty groves envelope the town. Covering grief, healing, religion, prejudice and found family, she displays an impressive emotional range, without ever feeling melodramatic”

Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs said “Reece has an amazing way with words. I could feel the lushness of the wildwood, the beauty of the land and the mountains, taste the sweetness of the honey”

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Powell’s | Walmart | Booktopia (Australia) | Books-A-Million | Flipkart (India) | !ndigo (Canada) | Kobo | Audible | Google Books | Apple Books | Thrift Books | Abe Books | Audiobooks | Blackwell’s (UK) | Schuler Books | Book Mark | Tattered Cover Book Store | Story on the Square

Check out all the other books featured this month on The Curated Bookshelf.

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