Pray you never find your Summerwood, Grandfather had said. I’d found something worse. I’d found his.
In Summerwood, twelve-year old Rosalind Hero Cheung can’t wait to spend the summer in Toronto with her teenaged sister Julie and their famous author grandfather. Years ago Walter Denison wrote a series of bestselling children’s novels about a magical land called the Summerwood. But to Hero’s dismay, Walter is cold toward his granddaughters and Julie derides Hero’s hope that the Summerwood is real.
Nevertheless, one day she and Julie stumble into the Summerwood. Ruled by the beautiful and enigmatic Lady of Summer, it is the idyllic fantasy land out of Walter’s books, complete with quaintly dressed talking animals. However, Hero discovers the Summerwood is far more sinister than Walter had ever let on. Julie is abducted and, to save her life, Hero must find the Summerwood’s sacred winter stag. Hero quickly learns that setting out on a fantasy quest is far more prosaic—and terrifying—than she’d ever imagined, and there is a steep and bloody price to pay for being the hero.
In Winterwood, three years have passed since Lindy Cheung went into the Summerwood and emerged changed and broken. Now she’s getting into trouble—starting fights, skipping school, dating unsuitable boys. After her mother grounds her—again—she runs off to Toronto to her sister, the only person who knows what really happened three years ago. But Juliet has moved on from the trauma, and Lindy finds herself back in the Summerwood, where an old enemy tells her: The stag must die again.
And this time, in order to save the Summerwood, she has to be the bad guy instead of the hero.
E. L. (Elaine) Chen’s short fiction has been featured in anthologies such as Masked Mosaic, The Dragon and the Stars and Tesseracts Fifteen, and in magazines such as Strange Horizons and On Spec. Her first novel, The Good Brother, was released in 2015. Her second book, Summerwood/Winterwood, will be out in late 2019. She lives in Toronto with her son and a requisite cat.
Praise for E. L. Chen
“Summerwood/Winterwood will beguile readers with its dark vision of a Narnia-like land, populated with real, damaged people. These wonderful tales explore how stories serve the teller, and the roles they force upon the unwitting.”
—Kate Blair, author of Transferral, Tangled Planet and The Magpie’s Library
“An eerie, textured nightmare tapestry of regret and healing, The Summerwood duology undoes the stitches of children’s fantasy with the verve of The Magicians—and makes them new again with the compassion of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children.”
—Leah Bobet, multi-award-winning author of An Inheritance of Ashes
“The Summerwood duology delivers a gut punch to Narnia while also serving as a bleak, brittle coming-of-age story. Chen takes the reader on a journey into a fantasy world that is never a space of safety or triumph but that still, in its own way, offers a means of escape.”
—Kari Maaren, award-winning author of Weave a Circle Round
“I enjoyed reading The Good Brother and highly recommend it to anyone who likes horror, YA novels with paranormal themes, or who wants something new in a ghost story.”
—Lesley Donaldson, author of The Queen’s Viper