Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Author Interview and Book Review: "Down in Yon Forest" by Clare Revell

Pelican Book Group is releasing another Christmas theme novella on December 1! I reviewed it and interviewed author, Clare Revell.

Having suffered a panic attack on stage during a performance, violinist Meredith Stranraer flees to the small town of Paradise where her grandparents live. For some strange reason, they don’t want her around and their rejection is more than unsettling, it’s downright alarming.

Jeremiah Mantle is the local forest ranger. He watches the girl in the grey cloak from a distance, his assignment to protect her as well as the forest. However falling in love is definitely not in his job description.

Thrown together at the annual Christmas ball, things soon escalate. There is something wicked in the woods and a dark past is determined to rip them apart. 

The cover art, title, and British setting had me ready for a period romance, but Down in Yon Forest  surprises with a contemporary story in which love takes a back seat to suspense.

Sparks do fly immediately, and the romance is sweet, but there is no tension there. The reader still enjoys the developing relationship, because Meredith is in danger, vulnerable, and in need of a protector. When we meet her, she is licking the wounds of a profoundly bad experience, floundering and unsure of herself, and prone to panic attacks. 

For me, her loneliness is also striking: she has a friend to whom she's barely spoken since school, a sister in a foreign country, and grandparents who seem to love her but don't want her around.

It's a relief when Jeremiah, the typical too-good-to-be-true romantic hero steps onto the page. Even though he's pretty much perfect in every way, the reader is carried along from page to page, sucked in by the fear that he may not be able to protect her--especially when the true level of deception that's been going on is revealed.

It's a nail-biter for sure, with the added complexity of emotionally damaged characters. The difficult backstories of trauma and abuse bring mental health issues to the fore in Down in Yon Forest. I love the patience and tenderness of the hero, along with the value of his medical expertise. Meredith is not averse to using medication to treat her mental health issues--a trait which can be difficult for some to accept, especially if they've never suffered in this way. 

Revell doesn't leave it there--she also highlights the danger of meds if they're misused.

I typically read and write historical, so the use of meds and mental health is not something I see often in fiction. But I do see it in real life, all around me. Every reader should be able to identify with Meredith, as one who has suffered, or with Jeremiah, as loving one who suffers. Hat's off to Revell for giving us this sweet picture of love and support.

Purchase the novella here:

Clare was kind enough to join us and answer a few questions about her novella:

1. Bowie was a wonderful sidekick, and like all good sidekicks, he stole the scenes he shared with Jeremiah! Are you a dog lover yourself? Do you have any experience with working dogs?

To be honest, I'm a cat person. Despite putting dogs in three or four books now, I'm not a great fan. I don't have any personal experience with working dogs, but I did a great deal of research into both hearing and guide dogs for previous books - Tuesday's Child and Lily of the Valley in May.

2. Both the main character and the villain deal with mental health issues. Every reader can relate, I'm sure, if not directly, then indirectly, yet it is rarely portrayed in Christian fiction. What inspired you to embed this timely and important issue in your story?

Hubby has struggled with depression on and off for several years. I also had PND after my eldest was born. It's the silent disease that no one sees or wants to acknowledge exists. It's important to let people know that they aren't alone. sometimes they want to talk, sometimes just having someone in the same room is enough.

3. I enjoyed the chemistry and camaraderie between the main characters and their friends, Caitlyn and Ty. Will we be seeing them in future novellas?

Yep, Caitlyn and Ty are plotting their own story as I type. Rather annoying as I'm writing something else right now, but they have big plans for a book all to themselves.

About the Author

Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.

Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.

Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American, the books contain British language and terminology.
The first draft of every novel is hand written.

She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars. 

She can be found at:


  1. thank you so much for the fab review and for having me here.

  2. We were honored to have you visit!

  3. What a wonderful review! I loved this book, and enjoyed the interview.


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