The Wood Wife: Well done

book review Terri Windling The Wood Wifefantasy book reviews Terri Windling The Wood WifeThe Wood Wife by Terri Windling

Our heroine, Maggie, is reeling from her divorce and drifting rather aimlessly through life — she considers herself a poet but hasn’t written a poem in years. Then, her mentor dies mysteriously — drowned in a dry creekbed — and inexplicably leaves her his house in the Southwestern desert. She moves there, hoping to research a biography of him. At first, Maggie doesn’t like the desert; it seems sterile, forbidding, devoid of charm. Then one night a pooka cuddles up to her in bed, and nothing is the same after that…

Maggie soon discovers a world of magic in the desert (and we, the readers, discover it right along with her), and digs up some fascinating secrets about her mentor’s life. And suddenly, all the pieces come together.

Both a mystery and a fantasy, The Wood Wife is gorgeously written and a good read. As a writer, I was especially moved by the discussions of whether or not Maggie was still a poet. Well done.

The Wood Wife — (1996) The Wood Wife won the Mythopoeic Award for Novel of the Year. Publisher: Maggie Black, a writer, inherits a house outside Tucson, Arizona, from a famous poet with whom she had corresponded, and who met a mysterious death. As she meets the local inhabitants,Maggie becomes aware of undercurrents of magic and fantasy, and that all is not as it seems.

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KELLY LASITER is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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3 comments

  1. This is an amazing book. Terri Windling isn’t particularly prolific, but I think I have loved everything I have read from her.

  2. Terri WIndling has edited (and contributed to) dozens of fantasy anthologies (many with Ellen Datlow) and has won a bunch of prestigious awards for her work, so she’s a really big name in fantasy literature. I’m hoping we can review more of her work soon.

  3. I’ve read a bunch of the anthologies. If you want reviews of those, I have some ancient ones I can retool.

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