Willa of the Wood

Willa of the Wood
If you loved the fantasy in Serafina, you must give Willa a try. All the magic of the forests in the Smoky Mountains along with a new protagonist to love will sweep you along like the river rapids coming off the mountains. Willa is a member of the Faeran, an old clan that live in dens deep in the mountains. Once the clan had awesome powers of woodwitchery, but it has died off until few can display any of the skills of old. Willa's grandmother has been teaching her the Faeran language, but everyone in the clan also speaks some Cherokee and English. That is a lucky thing for Willa when she runs into trouble and encounters some of the homesteaders on the slopes above Gatlinburg.
This is a story full of the pull of tradition, the fear of strangers, and the value of love and loyalty. Mixed in with the fantasy elements are historical details such as the logging companies who clear cut much of the old growth forests in the mountains, the mix of homesteaders and Cherokee, the use of grist mills and even the importation of honeybees. Local wildlife and plants are lovingly portrayed, too.
A great mix for fans of historical fiction and fantasy, strong female protagonists, and existing Beatty connoisseurs. Strongly recommended for middle grades and up.
384 pages         978-1368005845        Ages 10-14
Recommended by:  Suzanne Costner, Library Media Specialist, Tennessee  USA
See more of her recommendations:  fveslibrary.blogspot.com

From Robert Beatty, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Serafina books, comes a thrilling new series for adults and young readers (8+). Set in 1900 in the Great Smoky Mountains, it's the story of an orphaned girl--gentle of heart, but brimming with the ancient forest powers of her people--who must struggle to survive in a changing world. Filled with the history, mystery, and magic of the Great Smoky Mountains, Kirkus Reviews describes WILLA OF THE WOOD as "A moving, atmospheric journey of hope." 

Move without a sound. Steal without a trace. To Willa, a young night-spirit, humans are the murderers of trees. She's been taught to despise them and steal from them. She's her clan's best thief, creeping into the log cabins of the day-folk under cover of darkness and taking what they won't miss. It's dangerous work, but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people.

When Willa's curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day-folk world, she calls upon the old powers of her beloved grandmother, and the unbreakable bonds of her forest allies, to survive. Only then does she begin to discover the shocking truth: that not all of her human enemies are the same, and that the foundations of her own Faeran society are crumbling. What do you do when you realize that the society you were born and raised in is rife with evil? Do you raise your voice? Do you stand up against it?

As forces of unfathomable destruction attack her forest home, Willa must decide who she truly is--facing deadly force with warm compassion, sinister corruption with trusted alliance, and finding a home for her longing heart.--from the publisher

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