Forest of Whispers

Forest of Whispers

by Jennifer Murgia


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Raised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago... and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting. Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to--one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder--a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937053567
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Series: Hedge Witch Series , #1
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jennifer Murgia writes Young Adult Fantasy and Contemporary novels. She has long loved the dark and speculative--and it's from these dark places that she weaves fantastical stories, often hoping to find truth in them. She is the co-founder and coordinator of YAFest: an annual teen book festival in Easton, PA. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, her two children, and a very spoiled cat.

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Forest of Whispers 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Samantha Rivera for Readers' Favorite Rune is a young girl desperate to know more about her past, until the opportunity presents itself in startling ways. Living her life as a fortune-teller's apprentice, Rune has always lived in the forest that others fear. She has felt safe there and, despite the danger others fear, she has always truly been safe there. But the day the strange woman comes to their cottage, the day she gives poisonous mushrooms to an old woman, and the day she meets Laurentz in the forest is the day everything changes. Her world will never be the same because a woman from her past is desperate too, desperate to get revenge and to convince Rune to do it for her in Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia. Forest of Whispers is the story of a young girl who has suddenly found herself alone and fighting for her very life. A strong and courageous girl (even when the odds are stacked against her), Rune has some very powerful friends who will help her in her darkest hour. I was amazed at everything Rune was able to accomplish and how strong she truly was. She is definitely a character that readers care about and one they wish they could be more like as well. Despite being labeled and ostracized by her village, Rune is determined to make the others understand and to help them if she can. Forest of Whispers is not the story of revenge that a certain woman would wish it to be; instead, it is a story of magick and discovery.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful trip back through time, for now its 1627 and we’re in the Black Forest of Bavaria. Rune, 16 lives with Matilde in the forest, a line of hedges separates the forest from the village keeping the evil spirits out of the village and keeping the villagers safe. Rune knows what the villagers think of her and the woman who has raised her like a daughter, yet these are the same individuals who come to Matilde for tonics and potions in their time of need. Matilde is a witch, someone they fear yet they secretly need her. The fear of The Plague is near and everyone is on edge. In times of desperation, the villagers use Matilde, as their excuse for their troubles that surround them. What will the future hold for Rune and Matilde? Rune is scared of living without Matilde for she knows nothing of the skills Matilde possessed, how will she ever learn them? I lived this novel more than I read it, I felt for Rune as she experienced the struggles within the village and in the forest as the villagers fought them, such hatred. To hear the accusations, the scuffle, I swear I seen the faces of the individuals whose lives were being affected affect and then I remembered I was in 1627. Rune calls upon the Sacred Mother and the four corners of the earth to help her and I was pleading with her for someone to give her a sign, an answer to guide her. It was all too real. Laurentz is another main character in the book whose story runs parallel to the story of Rune. Laurentz happens upon Rune in the village and later their stories intertwine when he gets emotional over Rune’s situation and he believes Rune can assist him. Laurentz is also struggling with his own identity when all he needs to do is to be himself, I feel. This book was more than I expected. These two teens faced more challenges and exciting discoveries before their fight was finished in the end. I don’t remember when I have read my last book dealing with witches but after reading this one, I really feel that I have been missing something. “I am too afraid to look into his eyes. All I can think of is how he doesn’t fit here. He is too formal to be standing in the forest with me. He is too perfect to blend in with the wild while I stand in a dirty, damp dress, my eyes swollen from my tears. We are as different as two worlds. But what is strangers still is how he doesn’t appear to notice it as I do.”
BookLoversLife1 More than 1 year ago
I finished this a few days ago and to be honest I'm still torn with my rating. I wanted to love this because seriously, that cover is stunning, and it sounded amazing but unfortunately I didn't love it, I'm not too sure if I even liked it that much. It was OK but that's it!!  I'm going to break this down into what i liked and didn't like and I think ill get the bad stuff out of the way first.   The Pacing : I think the main thing I didn't like was that it was quite slow and plot wise not much happened. I was reading and so many times found myself wandering, then Id have to go reread the part my mind wandered from and Id find myself wandering again.  The characters :  I found them to be kinda flat. I didn't get invested in any of them and thought there could of been more development from the main character, Rune. While she eventually comes into her own, it does take her a very long time to. If she just embraced herself and was stronger then I think I would of liked her.   The Romance : I so didn't like the kinda insta love thing that happened. The fact that Laurentz kept thinking she bewitched him was also annoying.  What I liked :  The atmosphere : The Black forest was an awesome setting. So dark and mysterious. It created a spooky vibe.  The history : I absolutely loved the history of Bavaria and the myths that the author showed us. It was a fascinating area to set the plot in and I loved it.  I also liked the hedge witch concept and the witch's cottage in the woods. It added a bit of fairytale vibe to the story.  So Overall Forest Of Whispers is just an OK read. Every time I sit down to write this review (I've tried several times) all I can say about it is that the book is readable. Its not bad but its not gripping either. I think Ill stick with my 2.5 stars because there was nothing that got me excited abut this book (apart from the cover) 
Ayanami_Faerudo More than 1 year ago
First of all, I would like to thank the birthing god or goddess for letting me born in a time period where a woman could sneeze in peace without being accused and persecuted of witchcraft. The Forest of Whispers was a little strange to me at first. It had that strange quality about it that I also found when I was reading Chime by Franny Billingsley and Arrow of the Mist by Christina Mercer, both of which I enjoyed reading and ultimately loved. It isn’t like the strange quality that I mentioned is to be interpreted as bad. In fact, that gave a sublime, surreal and timeless feel to the storytelling. These traits are what set apart Forest of Whispers, removed from the usual bustle of young adult fantasy and placed on a separate unique place. It represented a slice of life, a peak into medieval Bavaria where superstition and religion ruled daily life and put the blame of things unwarranted on innocents while true evil hid behind the gossip. It was both fact and fiction and I loved every minute of reading it. That sense of strangeness that I always feel when I read this kind of books gave way to the highs and lows of Rune’s journey and self-discovery. I understand that this is meant to be a standalone and it could stand alone however I felt that the last quarter of the book, the denouement, the unraveling of things, felt a bit rushed. And while the ending was written as a new beginning, one where the reader could speculate what will happen now, I would like to know of what will happen.
WonderWmn More than 1 year ago
When I first read the synopsis of this book, a favorite comic book from my childhood came to mind. It was back in the 1970's and there was a little girl whose mother was being accused of witchcraft and she was taken away by villagers. While home along, the little girl discovered her powers and created all kinds of havoc. I can't remember the name of this comic book, but I must have read it and looked through it a bazillion times. Now, this is a part of my childhood that I hold close and to have a synopsis spark that memory, made me decide right away that I had to read this book. Rune, an orphan, is being raised by an older lady who is like a gypsy. She reads peoples fortunes, creates potions for their ailments, reads stones and things like that. This woman has kept a secret from Rune, since the child's birth, but realizes the time has come to tell Rune the truth. The stories within the stories kept my nose in this book and I didn't want to put it down. The delight I felt in the magick, trickery and people's ignorance kept me engrossed.  I've always loved a good witch story, and this book is right up there near the top of my list as a favorite. The author brings together stories of girls who were falsely accused and killed because the villagers paranoia with witchcraft. The very science of nature was turned on more than a fair share of innocent girls and women. And than there are the stories of those who were actual witches and could control the forces of nature itself and bring devastation to anyone and anything that witch wanted to. The stories from long ago are centered around the dark magick.  The author shows the reader how natural occurrences were treated by those ignorant of science. Through a time period, when nature struck back, it was because they thought someone made it do it. Innocent mistakes were labeled criminal at the drop of the hat while imaginations ran wild. The author did a fine job of bringing the stories of old to the reader while still keeping it interesting. The descriptions from the author were very well detailed, I could feel myself in the forest. I could hear the whispers, see the looks on faces and feel the textures of the world around the characters. The author kept true to the time period, using words that gave it the real feel. Thankfully, she is quite the thinker and provides the pronunciation and meaning of those words in the very beginning of the book. I quickly became accustomed to the wording and it didn't break the flow of the story. There are dual POV's in this story. One of Rune, another of Laurentz and one special one from Liese. Rune was interesting but Laurentz felt a bit flat. I found myself skimming over his chapters quite a few times.  The chapter of Liese. That one pulled at my heartstrings. So much is said in those couple of pages that puts everything in a new perspective. The truth come out and you see the story in a whole new light. You realize that ignorance is also a cover up in many ways. I recommend this for anyone who likes books on magick, witches and that whole scenario. Trying to describe the essence of this book is hard. It wraps up the mystery of witches with a feel of the old style movies that would creep you out but not have you running from the room. This story will keep you on the edge though.
ArkhamReviews More than 1 year ago
Forest of Whispers is a compelling and utterly engaging novel that I had trouble putting down. The ethereal backdrop of the Black Forest gives the story the air of a fairy tale that is offset by the brutality of the witch trials. As so many novels of this type are set in Salem or England, the fact that this one focused on the German witch trials was very refreshing. The story was very eloquently written and its descriptive tone fit its themes very well. Beneath the primary plot of the witch trials lay a complex story full of political intrigue and murder that really added depth over the second half. Both of the primary characters - Rune and Laurentz - had notably different voices and attitudes that complement each other very nicely and I was pleased to see their light romance blossom over the tale without ever causing the story to diverge into a paranormal romance. All in all, I was highly impressed by this story and look forward to reading more by this author in the future
KikiD870 More than 1 year ago
Forest of Whispers is set in the villages and forest of Bavaria, in a time of fear brought on by the spreading plague and the witches that wield their magic in the forest.  The fear of the unknown is beginning to give way to hysteria, placing the blame at the hands of a mysterious young girl who was raised in the forest by a crone.  The villagers have surreptiously gone to the girl and the crone in the forest for years... for potions and fortunes and herbal healing.  But now fear is spreading and where better to lay the blame for things that are going wrong with the world? The author's writing is beautiful, vivid in its emotions and descriptions.  The dangerous beauty of the forest is easily imaginable.  The fear and desperation of the villagers is palpable.  The bleakness of the witch prison is horrifying to envision.  It is the kind of book that just draws you in and keeps you there.  While the story itself is fiction, the settings are real places, making the story that much more believable. Rune is our girl of the forest, raised in the woods by Mathilde, the crone.  At first, I found it a little hard to connect to her.  We aren't quite sure who she is, what her story is, and the mystery distances her.  But when we start to learn more about her and how she came to be where she is now, that connection is forged.  Laurentz is her love interest, the epitome of the boy from another world.  He is of noble descent, destined for political greatness.  Yet he risks it all for a girl he meets only by chance at an awkward moment. The points of view flipped between Rune and Laurentz, allowing us to really know both of these characters.  We discovered Rune's story right along with her and there were so many things that happened that I didn't expect to see.  Laurentz had his own story that was just as important as Rune's.  Their stories wove together in some very interesting ways, giving us a side of the story that we wouldn't have been able to get if we were dependant on Rune alone. Things to love...    --The weaving of the real and the imagined    --The vivid imagery and emotions    --The twists and turns My Recommendation:  This is a beautiful and well-written book.  If you enjoy the magic and fantasy associated with the early 1600's, you will enjoy this read!
HeatherCox More than 1 year ago
I’ll start off by saying that I was a bit hesitant before opening the book. I’ve never been a big fan of historical books but have learned in the past never to judge a book by its genre. So with an open mind, I got started. Right off the bat, a scene is set in my head with a map depicting Bavaria in 1627, with the important landmarks noted. Just prior to the first page a pronunciation guide is listed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said a word in my head that I know I’m saying wrong. It trips me up, makes me stop reading to try and figure out the correct way. So thank you, Jennifer, for making it easy for me! From the very first page my attention was grabbed and nothing was going to make me put the book down (except for sleep so I could function at work). Murgia brought her characters to life by the brilliant imagery she evoked. Rune is a young woman learning about her past and how she is connected to witchcraft. The tragedies she endures bring her closer to the truth and myself close to tears. You know it’s a great read when you can connect emotionally to the story. I can’t wait until the next in the series is available, I’m sure to be the first one to feed their one-click addiction! ***I received an advance reader copy from Spencer Hill Press in exchange for an honest review
ape2306 More than 1 year ago
To be perfectly honest I have always shied away from books that had historical settings. They never seemed to interest me. Having been a fan of Jennifer’s since her first book I was extremely interested to see what her next book was about. Then I read what it was about and learned about the setting and there was a part of me that was a little unsure. Like I said though I am a fan of Jennifer’s work so I thought why not give it a shot. I also haven’t read many stories lately that a witch was the main character, most of the time if a witch was involved it was a secondary character. So, did I like the story even though it is set in 17th century Germany? I really did. With each book Jennifer puts out her ability grows to be able to captivate a reader not just with the main characters but the secondary characters AND THE SETTING. Being set in the 17th century it was during a time of hysteria it added to what the main character, Rune, was going through of learning and dealing with who she is. There was also a point that my eyes went wide and I even held my breath for a moment. I thought I was about to be in for the biggest twist that I didn’t see coming. I will say it didn’t go that way. What actually happened was still a surprise and I am glad she didn’t go the way I thought was about to happen. Jennifer did a wonderful job taking the reader along for the journey that Rune goes through to discover her complete set abilities and to perhaps find a way to accept them.