The Willow by Your Side by Peter Haynes
"What an extraordinary book. A profound meditation on English landscape and history and myth, wrapped around a core of damaged lives, a book of great beauty with the darkest of hearts."
Dave Hutchinson, author of the Fractured Europe Sequence
The woods. Dreams and portents. Youth. Magic runs through all of them. But in the aftermath of war a young boy is twisted and tested trying to hold his family together.
As his sister recovers from a terrible assault by her father, she teaches him about the magic in the land, the tombs of ancient kings and the wishing lake, about the treacherous Red Cap and the places deep in the woods where the adults don’t go.
But when she disappears, the balance fails. Parents divided by their pain and all eyes in the village turn to the father, a man who brought his own nightmares back from the war. They search the woods, pushing deeper into the strange spaces where myths grow with the trees. But only the boy knows the secret paths they took, and the way to the lake where wishes come true.
A story of the potent and dark spaces of folklore, The Willow By Your Side is the best of British fantasy. Channelling Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood and Catriona Ward’s Rawblood, Haynes plunges deep into the landscape, peeling back the delicate rules of the British identity, and what we hide beneath it.
Peter Haynes hails from the wilds of Devon, he currently lives in Birmingham, UK where he writes novels and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @ManOfZinc
The language used by the boy in his internal thoughts is gorgeous, with wonderful turns of phrase that make it a joy to read. A genuine sense of “Englishness”—an Anglophilia—pervades the book, and it is clear the author understood his subject well. The Willow by Your Side is a capable addition to the ranks of English fantasy, and should delight readers of Lord Dunsany, Hope Mirrlees, and C S Lewis.
– Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine
[The Willow by Your Side] expertly balances a twisted, folklore-inspired adventure with the trials of a fractured family, and I couldn’t help but be sucked in. Definitely an excellent pick for this cold British winter.
– Astolat Books
The Willow By Your Side hit all my sweet spots: English children in a very English fantasy novel with a tinge of WWI and Roman legionnaires. If that’s the kind of thing you like, too, then I can’t recommend this novel highly enough.
– The Frumious Consortium
The author has a wonderful writing style that not only brings a Gothic fairy tale atmosphere to life, but that of a struggling family trying to get their lives back on track after the war. All in all, this is an exceptionally well written and suspenseful book!
– Whispering Stories
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-907389-00-8
ePub ISBN: 978-1-907-389-01-5
Publication date: November 2018
Format: Paperback, ePub and mobi