Saturday, February 21, 2015

Silent Woods by Ofelia Gränd: #Reivew #GuestPost #NewRelease

Silent Woods
by Ofelia Gränd

Genres: M/M, Contemporary, Suspense, Fantasy
When Daniel’s husband Anders takes the family camping in the woods, Daniel can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right.

He almost dismisses his fears as nothing more than his dislike of the great outdoors, but when the couple’s five-year-old son Axel goes missing, his worst fears are confirmed.

A search party reveals something more sinister than either man could ever have dreamed of encountering in the woods. Can they find Axel and save him before it’s too late?
I live in Sweden and it is a country that appreciates nature. Last summer my sister and I took my five-year-old and three-year-old camping. My son wanted to sleep in a tent, and my sister thought it was a brilliant idea—I might have been a bit more reluctant, but it was nice. We put up a tent in the forest and lit a campfire to cook food. While there my sister, who is far more familiar with being in woods than I am, said that she hoped we wouldn’t have any wild boars trample in during the night. Wild boars! They can be quite dangerous, and we have plenty of them around here. She also mentioned the lake and that she was a bit worried that, if lost, one of the kids would go down there. Isn't that what every parent wants to hear while sitting among the beech trees, not seeing anything but leaves and grey tree trunks? 

Even though a lost child is every parent’s nightmare, I wasn’t too worried. My sister’s comment about the lake started the wheels in my head turning. Every culture has mythological tales, and Scandinavian folklore has a few aquatic creatures. The Neck’s story is more widely recognized among our people than some of the others. He’s a big part of our culture and has inspired painters, authors, poets and musicians for hundreds of years. I’m no different from them—I wanted to put him in a story, so I did. 

The Neck is a male water nymph, which is quite unusual. Water nymphs are most often female. He is most commonly seen at dusk, sitting on a stone in the middle of a stream or close to a lake, playing a violin. No one can play like he can, he is the most skillful violinist ever born. 

He may appear in many different shapes and forms. Over time he has been described in quite a few ways. Sometimes he’s a young boy or an old man, other times he’s the most beautiful creature you’ve ever seen or the most hideous. He may have long blackish green hair or three eyes, he might have webbing between his fingers, or a crooked nose. No matter how his body looks, the one feature that remains the same is his eyes. They are always as dark as the deep water of a woodland pond. 

He sounds evil but is most often described as a creature who doesn't mean to be. He plays his violin because he’s lonely. His music is melancholic and completely arresting, but if you hear him play you’ll either be lured into the water, or start to dance. He plays a certain tune keep you dancing until you die, but most often he’ll simply drown you. 

His victims are most often women and children. He used to lure women into the water while they were doing laundry—thank God for the washer, right? He can also be quite crafty and transform himself into a woman’s fiancé to make her come close enough for him to drown her. There are a few tales of men falling in love with the Neck, but his victims are usually women, just like the victims of mermaids most often are men. 

There are ways to protect yourself from this creature. You can stick a knife in the riverside before going into the water, or trade with him. I don’t recommend trading. Many have tried, only to end up dead. If you’re willing to take your chances he’ll teach you how to play the violin. What you need to do is go down to a river three Thursday nights in a row. On the two first nights nothing will happen, but on the third he will show himself and you need to have something with you that’ll appease him. Bringing him a dead black cat is usually sufficient payment for him to teach you how to play, but you’d better watch out because he will try drown you during the lesson. Another tip I have to give you is to keep an eye on the water lilies. If they’re blooming then you know the Neck is nearby. 

Swim safely! 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SILENT WOODS is the story of a contemporary couple who take their family camping in the Swedish forest. Their weekend getaway turns into every parent's nightmare when their son disappears. Desperate to find their child, they are blindsided when the search turns into a mystery of mythological proportions!

What I loved most about SILENT WOODS is that it is first and foremost a suspense filled mystery. Daniel and Anders are typical parents. The day to day activities of raising young children take up most of their time. The quiet moments they are able to spend as a couple are treasured just as much as time spent relaxing as a family.

Based upon Swedish folklore, the mystery has a unique spin that I have not encountered before. I enjoyed this well written and edited novella. Ofelia Gränd's work is new to me and I'm looking forward to reading more of her stories in the future.

Ofelia Gränd lives on the southern west coast of Sweden with her husband and their three children. At the moment she's on parental leave. She could give up her glamorous life as a stay-at-home mom, and go back to her job as a teacher if she wanted to. But why not take advantage of the situation when she's living in a parental leave utopia? Enough about her being a parent, you think, and you're quite right. Ofelia is a No Poo practiser, a pescatarian who bakes her own bread and makes her own soap. Now you wished that we'd stuck to the children, don't you?
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  1. There are a few that I do not like, there is the Wendigo an emaciated zombie like cannibal and the Draugr, also a zombie but this time they haunt you in your dreams as well.... thank you for the giveaway :)