In the Heart of the Dark Woods by Billy Coffey


First, I think a 12-year old is too young to have to face some of the things Allie has to face. But then, there are numerous children younger than her who face things far worse.

Also, I seriously doubt that a man could possibly understand how incredibly awful and uncomfortable it is to have one's first menstruation, but Billy gives it a good try. Although, I do not understand why that had to be described in such vivid, living color right at the beginning of this book. Perhaps if I had read the first one, it might have made more sense. In fact, the whole book probably would have made more sense to me, so reader beware. I really think you need to read the first one.

I have loved Billy Coffey's writing since I first discovered his blog. He is so poignant, and on target with his writing about ordinary things. He makes the inanimate animate, emotions take on a life of their own and stir the soul when he is talking about real life things. His fiction has a different depth, and is slightly more on the dark side than the light. I have a hard time understanding that this comes from such a word-weaver. I'm thinking that is why God made us all so unique and or souls so deep.

Check out his blog and check out his books. You'll be glad you did.


A motherless girl hungry for hope . . . and the dream that could be leading her astray.

Almost two years have passed since twelve year-old Allie Granderson’s beloved mother Mary disappeared into the wild tornado winds. Her body has never been found. God may have spilled out his vengeance on all of Mattingly that day—but it was Allie’s momma who got swept away.

Allie clings to memories of her mother, just as she clings to the broken compass she left behind, the makeshift Nativity scene assembled in Allie’s front yard, and to her best friend, Zach. But even with Zach at her side, the compass tied to her wrist, and the Nativity characters just a glimpse out the window, Allie cannot help but feel lost in all the growing up that must get done.

When the Holy Mother disappears from the yard one morning, Allie's bewilderment is checked only by the sudden movement of her mother's compass. Yet the compass isn't pointing north but east . . . into the inky forest on the outskirts of Mattingly.

Following the needle, Allie and Zach leave the city pavement behind and push into the line of trees edging on the Virginia hill country. For Allie, the journey is more than a ghost hunt: she is rejoining the mother she lost—and finding herself with each step deeper into the heart of the darkest woods she's ever seen.

Brimming with lyrical prose and unexpected discoveries, In the Heart of the Dark Wood illustrates the steep transition we all must undergo—the moment we shed our child-like selves and step into the strange territory of adulthood.

"The Devil Walks in Mattingly . . . recalls Flannery O'Conner with its glimpses of the grotesque and supernatural. The story unwinds slowly and with a convincing voice that draws the reader deep into the unexplainable." —BookPage

“Billy Coffey is one of the most lyrical writers of our time . . . we leave his imaginary world hungry for more, eager for another serving of Coffey’s tremendous talent.” —Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Into the Free and When Mountains Move (on The Devil Walks in Mattingly)

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