Book Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Cece Louise

About the Book:

Title: In a Dark, Dark Wood

Author: Cece Louise

Series: The Forest Tales

Publication Date: Feb. 22, 2022

Publisher: Jabberwocky Tales

Synopsis: In a dark, dark wood, there was a dark, dark man . . .

Calia believes in ghosts. How could she not when she is haunted by a past encounter that sent her into hiding? She concocts a plan so crazy, it just might save her— if it doesn’t lead to her downfall. All she has to do is impersonate a missing princess and fulfill that princess’s betrothal to the Prince of Ebonwood.

Prince Brone believes in nothing—certainly not the curse rumored to plague the royal wives of Ebonwood. After the untimely death of his first wife, all he wishes is to be left alone. Once more facing a marriage not of his choosing, he vows not to make the same mistakes that cost him so dearly last time.

Calia soon discovers that fooling the prince will be much harder than she thought. As her complicated feelings for him begin to grow, so does her fear of Ebonwood—a kingdom shrouded in darkness, secrets, and even murder.

Will a warning from beyond the grave save Calia from the fate of the previous Ebonwood wives, or will it spell her ultimate ruin?

Inspired by the classic poem “In a Dark, Dark Wood,” this clean, standalone romantic suspense is perfect for anyone who loves fairy tales with a Gothic twist. 

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

In a Dark, Dark Wood, the fourth book in The Forest Tales series, is inspired by the children’s poem of the same name. I love this series and this addition to it. The characters are compelling, the story is interesting, and the romance is lovely. I also really like the Gothic vibes throughout the story, and the ominous, dark, and foreboding tone. Mysterious characters, a dark and gloomy setting, secrets, lies, and more shroud the story with this immensely Gothic feel.

Ebonwood, where most of the story takes place, is eerie and haunted. From the ominous statues outside to the dreary castle in which they live to the secrets that lurk around every corner, this creepy setting sets the tone for the story. The curse of the Ebonwood wives haunts the castle, and secrets of the death of Prince Brone’s first wife only adds to the dark and dangerous feel. I love that the setting and characters are shrouded in mystery, and one character even has Mrs. Danvers vibes for all of you Daphne du Maurier fans out there. There are definite nods to the du Maurier’s Rebecca, as well as classic fairy tales.

“Like an arm beckoning from under a dark cloak, the lights of the austere house seemed to call us forward.”

The story is told from both Calia and Brone’s perspectives, and they have a fantastic, slow-building enemies-to-lovers romance. For those of you who read the other books in the series, Calia and Brone are mentioned in Mazarine, as the protagonist is betrothed to Brone, and that is who Calia is pretending to be. I like that the story switches points of view. It adds so much to the character development and balances the story nicely. You really get to understand their fears, hopes, and motivations, and you see just how deeply they start to care for each other.

I liked both Calia and Brone from the start and was pulled into both of their stories. They both have such compelling arcs – she is trying to protect her siblings while fleeing from her past, and he is treated miserably, has an equally painful past, and secludes himself. To make matters more complicated, Calia and Brone enter into a marriage of convenience that’s riddled with problems. Trust issues, curses, lies, political ramifications, and mysterious threats plague this couple from the very beginning. Yet, they have this undeniable pull, a connection that they feel and slowly build upon throughout the mystery and danger. Both are so lost and alone, and I love that they find each other. All of this makes for an intriguing, suspenseful, and romantic read with many twists, turns, and unexpected surprises!

I love The Forest Tales series and am always excited to read Cece Louise’s books. The stories, characters, and romances are fantastic, and the fairy tale vibes and fantasy elements pay homage to the classics while still feeling wholly original and compelling. The author also connects the stories in a way that you can easily them as a series or as standalones. I can’t recommend this one enough to readers who enjoy clean YA fantasy, and I am so thankful to the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!
  • The mystery.

Favorite Line:

I’ve found the results of one action can have long-lasting repercussions – far beyond the moment or imagination.


Want to learn more about The Forest Tales series? Check out my reviews!

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