by Cat Bordhi
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0441013694
Date: 04 April, 2006 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Lily hates the house and the forest and hasn't been back since she graduated high school. The will asks that the family (Lily, her husband Peter, Ben and Sara) spend a year at the house before any decision is made about selling. It's difficult for Lily to face her fears and agree to the year at the house. She makes some arrangements of her own for her family's safety and then demands they follow rules that children of 4 or 5 would find demeaning. But the children do the best they can to go their own way and keep their mother happy. That is until Sara disappears.
This is book one of The Forest Inside Trilogy. The characters are well realized. The children are siblings and while they generally get along there is the inevitable squabbling. The metaphysical elements often overwhelm the fantastical elements, making this reader often wonder where the story was heading or what point it was trying to make.
The book seems to stand alone so I'm curious what will happen in the other two volumes. There is much of the flavor of Madeleine L'Engle's strong families who share values and love for each other and even more of Ursula K. LeGuin's man in balance with nature. One of the minor characters, Daggett, is trying to live his life as if he were Ishi and keeps a copy of Ishi, the Last of His Tribe as a reference in his cave. There are a lot of possible directions this series could take; it will also be interesting to see how the writer develops over the course of the series.
This would be a great book to start off young readers interested in fantasy and nature. There's a lot of information and material that would interest young people to go out and look up other books on ecology, plants, and animals.