The Long-Shadowed Forest – Review

My favorite author and the person I turn to when in need of inspiration is Helen Hoover. I have written about her several times in my blog and have recently taken on another one of her books, The Long-Shadowed Forest. Helen Hoover left the world two years before I arrived however I have always felt connected to her. I have to sadly admit although this book wasn’t exactly bad, I did not feel as connected to it as I have her written works.

The Long-Shadowed Forest is written with an overwhelming amount of detail which felt at times like I was reading a text-book on Botany. Helen writes of the weather and its effects on the woods, fungi and flowering plants, insects, small woodland creatures, birds and deer, etc. She documents every single step she takes outside her cabin door and every view with such accuracy, I found myself looking up every plant and unfamiliar woodland creature to really understand her. This although educational for me (learning more flora and fauna) was the same aspect that kept me from really enjoying the book. I was getting constantly getting lost in the details.

The sections of the book that Helen describes her experiences with her animal neighbors gave glimpses of her other writings. These descriptions allow the reader to see the personality of the animal yet she is still able to weave in ethology. In most of these chapters, I found it very easy to get lost in her narrative and was not distracted by the harsh specifics.

Adrian Hoover’s (Helen’s Husband) ink drawings are like small treasures hiding here and there through-out the entire book. They give character and softness to what at times are the rigid and complex descriptions of woodland scenes and the specfic flora and fauna Helen writes about. His art is a very fitting piece of Helen’s work as always.

I had read several years ago that The Long-Shadowed Forest is a Hoover book that should be saved for last and I agree. I personally am not sure If I would have been so eager to read her other written works, if I would have read this one first. Again this book is good but different from her others. This chemist side of her as far as documenting and reporting on a topic is very evident and to me takes away from the ease and simplistic nature of her writting style present in her other books.

If you would like to check out The Long-Shadowed Forest for yourself, you can find it on Amazon with the follow link or check it out at your local library. I would love to hear your thoughts!


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