Written By: Stephen Mullaney-Westwood
A little about the author (taken from his Amazon.com author profile):
Stephen has tasted the earth from the depths of his soul, grown anew and stretched his branches towards the sun, with roots firm and strong in their darkness…
Born in Hertfordshire, England, he had a hard time adjusting and finding his place in the world. His sensitive and artistic nature outcast him somewhat, and his mental health suffered throughout those teenage and young adult years.
But, ultimately, it was a journey and writing has always accompanied him along the way.
Now more positive, older, and wiser at the grand age of 40 he writes with a potent message which comes from a deep love of the natural world.
To write, and to breathe the words of nature is the place where Stephen belongs, doing something he truly loves.
The faeries and spirits of the woods have always asked to be heard, and Stephen has offered to be their voice.
His first release is ‘Unforgotten Tales’ a collection of thirteen short folktale style stories, modern fables and fairy tales, written in a method now often forgotten. Intentionally allegorical, darkly twisting while yet enlightening and inspirational.
Fairy tales are one thing…faeries, are another.
Find Stephen at:
Book Synopsis: ‘Forgotten Things’ is a novel of nature in contrast; sinister, beautiful, wise and innocent. With an otherworldly twist it explores the importance of influences; of growing up, whilst still looking backwards.
We see through the eyes of one man recounting the bitter sweet memories and adventures of his childhood. His love for the woods… his draw to them… but also his fear.
Similar to a classic ghost story the ‘horror’ is subtle and unnerving, while the ‘fantasy’ is simply a glimpse into another reality.
The little people are our antagonists, spoken of in whispers and presented in their true form; age old beings which transpose boundaries- taken seriously and sitting in mysterious juxtaposition with the secular world.
I’m not going to lie to you, I had a difficult time with the beginning of the book. Mr. Mullaney-Westwood’s writing style is not typical of anything I had previously enjoyed reading and it took me three tries to get past page two. I even messaged the author at one point and asked him about his choice of voice and use of incredibly in-depth descriptive passage. There are several places that tell us the showing instead of showing us the setting (did that sentence make sense? I know what I meant so if you don’t, ask…I may or may not be able to remember). However, I’m glad that I pushed on and got into the meat of the book.
Our narrator and main character are both named Adam Briggs. In fact, they are both the same Adam, approximately a lifetime of adulthood apart. The narrator, a grown Adam, is remembering the year he turned twelve and moved with his family to Grandfather’s little cottage near the wood. We follow his twelve year old self as Adam meets Grandpa for the first time, navigates a new place and his same old parents…and learns a bit more than he expected to about things that aren’t supposed to be real.
The personification of natural elements, the conversations between Adam and his Grandfather, and the peeks into the world behind the ‘veil of reality’ are all beautifully rendered.
Life becomes very surreal when a dream becomes reality.
The dream here is both that of country life and Adam’s new knowledge of the Little People that is being fed by his newly adored Grandpa. Coming into this new life as a sort-of brow beaten, mother run twelve year old city boy, Adam is discovering all sorts of new things coming into his world. Let’s talk about the other characters for a moment:
Mother – Adam’s mother, Annie Briggs, is Grandpa Finn’s daughter and seems to be his direct opposite. While Adam wishes to explore and use his imagination fueled new country knowledge, Annie is begrudging in her approach to living again in Cornwall. Having moved to her childhood home in order to help her ailing, aging father, Ann is cold and reserved throughout the story as she lectures, begs, and hopes that her child will not be pulled in to her father’s world.
Father – Thom Briggs, the enigmatic, whipped husband to Annie. He is very work centric and distracted for most of the scenes in which we find him.
Grandpa Finn Penrose – Ann Briggs’ father, Grandpa is an aged dreamer and firm believer in the Little People. His illnesses may keep him from wandering the wood with his Grandson now, but he is a veritable treasure trove of information and support as Adam embarks down this new path.
Martin – The first boy from his new school that Adam meets, Martin is sensitive, shy, and as fond of the coastline as Adam is of the wood.
Josh – Large framed boy, sporty and protective. Martin’s best friend and, soon enough, Adam’s as well. The three boys are incredibly close and adventure together throughout the story.
“Old Bob’s Wood” – The local name for the woods behind Grandpa’s home. Adam becomes intimately acquainted with the woods, and their inhabitants, throughout the book.
There are animals, there are ghosts, there are mysteries, and there are hard lessons to learn. Friendships, family dynamic, and growing up are all part of life and, unfortunately, sometimes twists and turns make us get banged up a bit. Forgotten Things weaves it all beautifully together. This book combines old world charm, the ‘truth’ on the Fey world, and a coming of age story that will keep you entranced and pushing forward to learn more. Do not let the density of the story, the deep well of truths hidden in what some will call ‘fairy stories’ stop you from picking this up. Mullaney-Westwood has put together a story in which the characters are real and you forget that you’re just an audience member.
Character Believability: 4
Flow and Pace: 3.8
Reader Engagement: 3.5
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 3.8
Overall Rate: 3.82