The Woman in the Woods by Lisa Hall

Blog tour: 14 to 18 October 2021

Synopsis

Is her family in danger?

When Allie moves to a quaint old cottage with her husband, it’s their dream home. Nestled in the village of Pluckley, it seems a perfect haven in which to raise their two children. But Pluckley has a reputation. It’s known as England’s most haunted village. And not long after the birth of their new son, Allie begins to notice strange things …

What’s the flash of white she sees moving quickly through the woods to the back of their house? And what’s the strange scratching noise coming from the chimney?

As Allie discovers more about the history of their new home, she uncovers a story of witchcraft and superstition, which casts a long shadow into the present day. And not everything is as it seems. Her family might well be in danger, but it’s a danger none of them could have foreseen …

Bestseller Lisa Hall’s The Woman in the Woods is full of creeping unease and nerve-wracking tension, and will have readers on the edge of their seats …

My review

The Woman in the Woods tells the story of Rav and Allie Harper, who move to the village of Pluckley in Kent from Ebbsfleet with their daughter, two-year-old Mina. Their son, Leo, is born soon after they arrive in the place that’s referred to as England’s most haunted village!

Allie is a florist and manager of a shop called The Daisy Chain, which her friend, Naomi, is looking after while Allie is on maternity leave. Rav is a barrister or judge and works long hours, putting cases together and dealing with criminals in court. The couple met in Goa – Rav was visiting his aunts and uncles with his parents and brother and Allie was backpacking with two friends she’d met along the way.

Their house (Gowdie Cottage) in Pluckley is a 400-year-old Grade II listed cottage with an intriguing past. It hasn’t been lived in for years and needs lots of working doing still. With two young children, Allie is exhausted most of the time and getting little sleep as Leo is feeding regularly through the night. She is so tired that she starts seeing people in the woods near their house and she feels watched.

Strange things seem to be happening inside the cottage too. Allie discovers items that have been left by the previous owners and when she learns the cottage’s history, she becomes even more freaked out and feels that a ghostly presence is trying to make itself seen and heard, especially when she finds various symbols of witchcraft and superstition.

As the story progresses, I wasn’t sure if Allie was an unreliable narrator and was imaging things or if the family really was in danger from a supernatural being. Allie’s husband, Rav, was acting very strangely and her friend, Naomi, also seemed to be trying to get too close to the family, especially as she moved to the same village! The pair of them seemed to be gaslighting Allie and questioning her thoughts and actions constantly, and dismissing her worries about the house being haunted by a ghost.

Allie makes some mum friends in the village but they all seem rather cliquey and it often feels like they’re talking about her behind her back. They like to gossip and took great delight in telling her about the history of Gowdie Cottage. It’s difficult for Allie to know who to trust and her mum and Rav’s mum, Avó, also like to interfere too.

Overall, I really enjoyed this disturbing and gripping novel, which had me distrusting several of the main protagonists and wondering what on earth was going on! I had several theories but couldn’t put my finger on what was really happening. It’s a creepy and atmospheric story and I enjoyed the descriptions of the cottage and its grounds with the rather dangerous herb gardens and water feature!

The book is well paced and cleverly plotted and kept me intrigued throughout with its spooky goings on and Allie’s rather erratic behaviour. At times, there were tense moments and I was really worried for Mina and Leo’s safety as Allie was distracted and the ghostly happenings ramped up. An unsettling read with some good elements of misdirection and perfect Halloween reading!

I’ve read several of Lisa Hall’s books and this was another entertaining and compelling read. I look forward to her next novel and catching up on the two I haven’t read yet.

Buy the book

The Woman in the Woods by Lisa Hall can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle (currently 99p) and in paperback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

Lisa Hall loves words, reading and everything there is to love about books. She has dreamed of being a writer since she was a little girl – either that or a librarian – and after years of talking about it, was finally brave enough to put pen to paper (and let people actually read it).

Lisa lives in a small village in Kent, surrounded by her towering TBR pile, a rather large brood of children, dogs, chickens and ponies and her long-suffering husband. She is also rather partial to eating cheese and drinking wine.

Twitter: @LisaHallAuthor
Facebook: @lisahallauthor
Instagram: @lisahallauthor
Website: https://www.lisahallauthor.co.uk

Blog tour

Thanks to Sian Baldwin at HQ Stories for my digital copy of The Woman in the Woods and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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