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Publisher's Summary

In this “riveting, atmospheric thriller that messes with your mind in the best way” (Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author), three residents of a secluded, seemingly peaceful commune investigate the disappearances of two outsiders.

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Often hired by families as a last resort, he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—and is soon led to a place many believed to be only a legend. 

Called Pastoral, this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it…he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James. 

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms. 

“As spine-chilling as it is beautifully crafted” (Ruth Emmie Lang, author of Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance), A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.

©2021 Shea Ernshaw (P)2021 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about A History of Wild Places

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

A wild ride

This story has everything: crime, suspense, betrayal, love stories… it reminds me of the movie The Village in places, but still keeps enough differences to be its own story.

I audibly gasped 3 times during this book. I was taken for a ride and I enjoyed every twist, turn, loop and drop. I would recommend it to anyone who needs a good stand-alone, real-world-fantasy story.

20 people found this helpful

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Mesmerizing

This may well be THE best book I’ve ever listened to/read. It had me captured from the 1st chapter. I couldn’t put it down. I loved it and HIGHLY recommend!!
Teresa McC

15 people found this helpful

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A break from reality

I haven’t been so enthralled in a story in a long long time. This story showed me places I want to be, people I want to know.
Loved it to the very end.

11 people found this helpful

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You think you know the story..

But it turns & twists on you. Really compelling and interesting. I really enjoyed it.

9 people found this helpful

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Didn't live up to the teaser

I bought this story because of the promotional teaser. It's not a bad story but not a great story either.
I really enjoyed the introductory character. Unfortunately, he didn't last long. The similarities with "The Village" by M Night Shyamalan are so strong it is distracting--a village with self-imposed isolation, an evil beyond its borders, a medical emergency forcing the issue of going beyond the forbidden boundary, two sisters one of whom is blind.

That said, I enjoyed the descriptive writing enough to keep going. The author created solid visual scenes without belaboring the descriptions. The story moved right along at a breezy pace. However, the storyline was forced and contrived at times. For me, a good book has to be believable, people behaving as most people would in a given situation. Elements in this story such as scared people running towards evil is difficult to digest. There were two big twists, both of which I enjoyed.

Several narrators helped and hurt the telling. One female lead did great, varying inflection, tone, and cadence. The other female lead was flatter with little variance. The opening lead male, while flat, I thought to be consistent with his character. The other male lead voice was so robotic I looked him up to make sure he was a real person. He literally sounded like the artificial voice associated with Stephen Hawking.

9 people found this helpful

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??

Still not sure if I'm satisfied, but I sure did rip through it. Pretty sure I enjoyed it even though at times I struggled to believe in the concepts.

7 people found this helpful

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Spoilers on the plot/ending:

I found the beginning of the plot absolutely amazing and was thinking it would be Travis hunting Maggie down into some kind of mystic middle earth/magical realm. I imagined that there would be fae similar to those in “An Enchantment of Ravens” where you initially think everything is magical and beautiful but then you clear the muck of your eyes and everything is actually rotten and destroyed. Since that’s not actually how it turned out, I did have some initial disappointment.
With that being said, the hypnotism plot was definitely interesting. It sounds like a story my mind (very conservative evangelical Christian) would use to back up her reasoning on why you should never let someone try and mess with your head/hypnotize you.
I can understand why Maggie and Travis chose to return to Pastoral vs the real world. Part of me thinks I might have done the exact same thing if I had that kind of emotional traumas/baggage too, but alas, I am a creature of comfort.

6 people found this helpful

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What an amazing & mysterious story!

I love Shea Ernshaw. I’ve loved her two previous books with their atmospheric, lovely, mysterious stories and A History of Wild Places is no different.

This is a story of people going missing and people being found. It’s a dark fairytale of killer forests and monsters and found family and fated love.

The narrators of this mysterious tale do a phenomenal job and I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves an amazing tale well told. Enjoy!

6 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

Outstanding visual and narrators are fantastic. Intriguing till the very end. I recommend to everyone

5 people found this helpful

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Good!

I thought all the twists were really good, did not see them coming. I enjoyed the different readers voices too.

5 people found this helpful