Fiction Review: Drowned Country by Emily Tesh

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I was incredibly excited to see the sequel to Silver in the Wood and had high hopes. And whilst I enjoyed Drowned Country, it didn’t have the same impact on me as the first.

Drowned Country follows on chronologically from Silver in the Wood but not smoothly — it feels as though details have been glossed over initially, although most of my questions were answered by the end. For example, we find out early on that Silver’s mother has hip issues and it’s clear something happened but we’re not told until later as part of the plot unfolds.

Unlike in Silver in the Wood, with its delicate foreshadowing, this feels heavier and less well-managed. Other details are also heavily hinted at or thrown straight at us and this caused me frustration.

Those details aside, we’re once again reading about the dryad Bramble, Henry Silver and his mother Adela, and Tobias Finch. There’s the addition of a missing girl (Maud) and vampire and faeries. Combining these elements together gives the book a much more gothic feel. After reading, I looked again at the cover and realised just how clever it is!

This story is told from Henry’s rather than Tobias’ point of view and it’s handled well. Tobias is pragmatic and stoic yet Henry is fairly whiny and has a flair for the dramatic. This is a nice reflection of the duology. Perhaps some of my reservations about how the details unfolded are because of Henry’s POV — why be straightforward when everything can be given so more drama?

Maud (the missing girl) is a fantastic character. Like Adela Silver, she’s strong and sassy and doesn’t settle in life. She’s not looking for romance in a traditional sense but has been romanced by the fae and this gives an intensity to the novella that I love.

I’m disappointed the duology didn’t round out the first story more and I think I would have enjoyed Drowned Country more if it weren’t for Silver in the Wood setting such a high bar.

Book Details

Drowned Country by Emily TeshPublication Title: Drowned Country
Series: The Greenhollow Duology #2
Author: Emily Tesh
Publication Date: 18th August 2020

Drowned Country is the stunning sequel to Silver in the Wood, Emily Tesh's lush, folkloric debut. This second volume of the Greenhollow duology once again invites readers to lose themselves in the story of Henry and Tobias, and the magic of a myth they’ve always known.

Even the Wild Man of Greenhollow can’t ignore a summons from his mother, when that mother is the indomitable Adela Silver, practical folklorist. Henry Silver does not relish what he’ll find in the grimy seaside town of Rothport, where once the ancient wood extended before it was drowned beneath the sea—a missing girl, a monster on the loose, or, worst of all, Tobias Finch, who loves him.

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