The Forest of Forgotten Vows
I should confess I’m rather prejudiced against books about the fae. So often, it seems like it’s all just glitzy sparkly magic romantic fluff, but I’m starting to think that may not be entirely fair.
It’s not like I’ve never been wrong about these things in the past. I felt much the same way about fantasy romance until I read Reign & Ruin.
Even so, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up if it weren’t for the cover, and I’m glad I didn’t read the description. The Forest of Forgotten Vows is immersive, creepy, and deals with some pretty heavy issues.
Tamsin has barely any memories of her childhood. Erased by trauma, therapy, and medication. Consequences of her mind never growing out of the phase of having imaginary friends. Not until she was sent to a boarding school did her delusions go away, and she began to adapt to life in the real world.
When her grandmother falls ill, Tamsin is the only one to look after her, and as she returns to her childhood home, so do her imaginary friends.
What I’ll whine about
This story is written in first person present tense, which can be enough for me to abandon a book after a few paragraphs. I’m learning that it’s a matter of execution though, and not the tense/PoV in itself. Fortunately, in this case, the executions is nearly flawless.
I’d have preferred past tense, but you can’t have everything, and the book reads easy enough as it is.
What I’ll gush about
Gas-lighting. Now, this isn’t a fun or pleasant thing at all, but it feels like it’s really well done in this story. Her entire life, everyone around her has convinced Tamsin she’s crazy, and because of it, she’s having a really hard time accepting what her senses tell her. It’s difficult, sometimes frustrating, but also believable. She’s in an awful situation, and there’s so much uncertainty in the story, it’s hard to predict where it’s going.
It wasn’t until the last ten percent I finally figured it out.
The ending. As mentioned above, it wasn’t until very late in the story that I saw what was coming. Perhaps it’s because I’m not used to the tropes of fae stories, or perhaps it really is a clever and unusual twist. I don’t know, and I don’t really care. I liked it, and it felt right, and that’s what matters. On top of that, the ending manages to be both a satisfying conclusion to the story leave me wondering what’s next.
This is a story involving the fae, but it’s really about being human.