Witch Lit Wednesday: Love in the Forest

Love in the Forest by Janina Grey; book surrounded by pinecones, acorns, evergreens, stone, moss, and dandelions. Photo by M. A. Phillips, 2023.

I pride myself on being a Pagan author writing authentic Pagan fiction in Upstate NY. Imagine my surprise and delight when I learned I wasn’t alone! Janina Grey and I “met” on an online group devoted to Witch Lit, and I knew I had to start reading her Earth and Sky Series set in the nearby foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.

The series is named after a fictional therapeutic camp that employs a number of open-minded, Pagan-friendly healers. They usually provide a safe space for children to readjust to life after loss and trauma with activities like group sessions, yoga, kayaking, crafts, and drum circles. Brooke Meadows, the female lead, is the camp photographer, but she has an unofficial role as well and is affectionally known by her colleagues as a “deathwalker” – someone who can communicate with the dead. She’s also a practicing witch.

In the first novel, Love in the Forest, everything changes when the owners of Earth and Sky decide to accept a group of adult clients as a trial. Brooke encounters Josh Quinn, the CEO of a successful online dating site. Though wealthy, Josh is grieving the tragic death of his wife and children a few years ago. His work performance is suffering, so his board insists he attend the camp and turn things around or else he’ll be forced into an early retirement. Meanwhile, Brooke has her own scars. Josh makes her feel things she thought were long out of her reach.

Worlds collide as nature-loving Brooke and big-city Josh grow closer in this hurt-and-comfort style romance. There are sexy and flirty moments, funny scenes, magical descriptions, but also references to painful pasts. Big trigger warnings for death of spouse and children as well as references to a past rape. Grey doesn’t linger on graphic details and instead focuses on emotions as well as moving toward healing. The ending was both happy and satisfying.

Pagan readers will enjoy relating to Brooke. This story isn’t about coming to terms with one’s religious identity. Brooke is already an established Pagan who prays to the Goddess, spends time in nature, dreams of the dead, and practices rituals with another colleague under the light of a full moon. Something is missing in her life, and the dead help her find it. Part of Josh’s journey is accepting the reality of Brooke’s spirituality and the healing power of nature. The book is slightly inconclusive as to whether or not he “converts,” but I’m definitely looking forward to gleaning more details about each in the rest of the series. The synopses reveal that the following books (Life is for Living and Lost in Your Rhythm) focus on other couples related to Earth and Sky, but I’d be shocked if Brooke and Josh don’t make appearances.

I recommend Love in the Forest to Pagan and earth-centered readers looking for a sweet to spicy M/F romance with great character development, realistic settings, a touch of paranormal, and authentic portrayals of modern witches. It’s available as an ebook or paperback through Soul Mate Publishing via Amazon.

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

4 thoughts on “Witch Lit Wednesday: Love in the Forest

  1. Wow. You made me cry. Hehehehe
    That’s the most wonderful review I’ve ever received! I’m so happy you enjoyed LOVE IN THE FOREST.
    And yes, Brooke and Josh appear in both LIFE IS FOR LIVING and LOST IN YOUR RHYTHM. In fact, in Book 4/LACED IN YOUR LEATHER, Brooke and Josh partner with Earth & Sky to open an equine therapy service.
    Thank you again for the wonderful review.

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