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  • Kelly Jarvis

Book Review: Into the Woods by Lorraine Murphy

Into the Woods by Lorraine Murphy drops readers into the frantic search for Paddy and Karen O’Hara’s eight-year-old deaf daughter Scarlett who disappears from the family home while her father is away on a trip for work and her mother is organizing a conference on a zoom call. Told through alternating first-person perspectives that share the personal feelings and motivations of key characters, this novel is a tense, addictive mystery that unfolds quickly on the page. I couldn’t stop reading!

Beneath the plot is a meaningful exploration of the complexities of marriage and motherhood along with a searing commentary on the dangers and benefits of social media. Paddy and Karen’s relationship has always been fraught with difficulties, and both Paddy’s extramarital affairs and Karen’s struggles with postpartum depression and the demands of raising a special needs child come under scrutiny during the police investigation. Secondary characters round out the novel’s contemplation of adultery, mental illness, and motherhood as readers’ wait with bated breath for a resolution to the tragedy.

The contemporary story is artfully framed by fairy tale references; Karen must learn to read hidden clues dropped like breadcrumbs and Scarlett must learn to play the role of the trickster to escape. Into the Woods is about all the things we fail to see and hear until we risk losing everything we love. You won’t be able to put it down!

Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

Kelly Jarvis teaches classes in literature, writing, and fairy tale at Central Connecticut State University, The University of Connecticut, and Tunxis Community College. She lives, happily ever after, with her husband and three sons in a house filled with fairy tale books.


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