Nightwoods by Charles Frazier

Haunting and beautifully written…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

nightwoodsLuce lives contentedly in her isolated life until she is given the care of her murdered sister’s two young children. Damaged and made distrustful of people by their experience, Luce tries to find ways to get through the protective shell they have developed to keep out the world – a world that becomes ever more threatening as their step-father arrives in town.

Charles Frazier has written a thoughtful and thought-provoking book here. He slowly introduces us to each of the characters, allowing time for us to understand what has shaped each one and brought them to this place at this time.

The theme of survival runs strong through the book. Luce’s own story is as bleak as that of the children but her strength has made her able to carve out a lifestyle that gives her contentment. When that contentment is threatened, the characters are plunged into a different kind of struggle for survival as they find themselves having to face the dangers of the wooded mountainside in winter.

Charles Frazier
Charles Frazier

The author conveys a real sense of place and time. The description of the small-town community in the ‘50s comes over as completely authentic; and the natural world of the mountain, woods and lake is depicted in a way that gives a sense of power and timelessness to set against the brief and petty struggles of humans.

This is not a car-chase, gun-shooting type of thriller – it is much more than that. A slow-burner, building an ever-increasing atmosphere of fear and unease. But there is also warmth here, room for hope and kindness and love. A beautifully written, haunting novel – highly recommended.

NB This book was provided for review by Amazon Vine UK.

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

6 thoughts on “Nightwoods by Charles Frazier

  1. Oh, and I like those ‘slow-burn’ mysteries. They can be every bit as suspenseful as the action-packed thrillers are. I like the idea of exploring what happens to people after trauma, too. It really does affect us and I like it best when authors acknowledge that. An excellent review, for which thanks.


    • I really liked this one – it was well-enough written that it could just as easily be classed as ‘literary fiction’ while still having a good strong thriller plot.


  2. Thank you for reminding me about this. I read it when it first came out and absolutely loved it. I meant to put it the list for one of my book groups because there is so much here to talk about but it wasn’t my turn to pick and I forgot about it. It’s going into my reading notebook right now so that the next time I have the choice I can put it right where it belongs.


    • It’s ages since I read it too and yet I still remember it quite clearly – always the sign that a book has impressed me. I really must get around to reading his other work.


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