Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Review: Forest of the Forsaken, by Joanne Brothwell


By Joanne Brothwell

Published February 2013 by Joanne Brothwell

Available on Amazon at


In this eerie adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, the fairy tale ending may be far from happy.

Following her mother’s death to cancer, Meg’s world crashes in around her. Her father re-marries within weeks of their loss, her witch step-mother is cold and rejecting, and her new step-brother, Joey, has some rather unusual sexual preferences. Meg’s only hope is to move away and leave her father and the tainted memories behind.

When her father forces her to attend his honeymoon with this new and unwanted blended family, Meg finds herself in the remote wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, miles from civilization. Meg begins to see things in the forbidding forest—strange, unexplainable things she believes are the result of compounding stress. But when her father and step-mother disappear, leaving Meg and Joey to fend for themselves, lost and without supplies, she realizes her paranormal visions are not merely her imagination after all.

Meg’s knows of the dangerous and tortured demons of Joey’s past but her heart can’t resist him. Bound together in desperation and fear, their romance blooms bright and all-consuming despite the evil magic of the formidable forest.

Will Meg and Joey find their way back to civilization? Or will their love wither in submission to the shadows within the Forest of the Forsaken?


A fast read that zips along at breakneck speed and sizzles with heat between the two main characters, this adult paranormal romance has few slow moments. Told in first person from the main character Meg’s point of view, the romance keeps shifting from dark to sweet, from lust to love, from sizzling to tender over the course of the story.

This is a reinterpretation of an old Grimm Brothers fairy tale, an adult retelling of the story of Hansel and Gretel. Let me emphasize the “adult” part of that sentence, as I mistakenly thought this was YA and (oh boy!) it’s not at all. I bought this before the cover redesign – and I have to add that I love the new cover art. With the more adult looking characters and the darker, creepier overtones, it’s beautiful and scary, and does justice to the story.

My favorite parts of the writing were the descriptions of both the evil forest (its own character, really) and the witch’s house. And the sex scenes. Ms. Brothwell does a great job bringing heat and darkness to the characters interactions and feelings. While I would’ve liked to have Joey’s character arc better defined (I desperately want him to be a totally changed man in the end!) I enjoyed this story immensely. It was a great escape – a guilty pleasure that I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, hot read for a day at the beach.

About the Author:

Joanne Brothwell lives in the country on the Canadian prairie where her stories are inspired by the dead things that appear at her doorstep on a daily basis. Of course, her two pets, a retired police dog with titanium fangs and a feral barn cat missing two toes, make the safety of surrounding wildlife, at best, uncertain.

Joanne is known to daydream, and ever since grade school has been accused of having a poor attention span. The truth is, Joanne has an alternate reality inside her head, where characters speak to her, sometimes so loudly (and incessantly) she just can't hear anything else!

You can rest assured you'll see much more of Joanne's writing in the future, as those characters in her head, having tasted the sweet freedom of release, simply refuse to be silenced!

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