Colleen and Andrew haven’t had sex in eleven weeks and three days [not that anyone’s counting]. Their marriage is in crisis, they’re drinking too much and both have secrets they’re afraid to share.
A teetotal week in a remote cottage could solve all their problems. But with the promised beach nowhere in sight, a broken-down car and a sinister landlord, they may not find it so easy to rekindle their romance. In this dark and funny novel, tensions build and tempers fray.
Dan Brotzel’s short stories have won awards and been published widely, with Hotel Du Jack, his first full-length collection, published in 2019. He is also co-author of a comic novel-in-emails about an eccentric writers’ group, Work in Progress (Unbound). The Wolf in the Woods is his debut novel.
Dan lives in London with his partner Eve and their three children.
My thoughts: this is a slightly strange story – mostly because of Wolf, the overly friendly owner of the cottage Colleen and Andrew rent for a week. He’s forever popping in with items of food, some advice, the offer of a lift after their car breaks down, a friendly chat. But he seems to know all sorts of private things about them and becomes increasingly sinister as the week goes on.
Neither Colleen or Andrew are exactly happy, she’s fantasising about running away with Gerry from drama school, he’s too busy cogitating on words and their pronunciation to pay real attention to his marriage. Neither of them want to discuss their problems – the drinking, the estranged son, the fact that they’re miserable.
I’ve stayed in lots of holiday cottages but I don’t remember any of the owners being this visible (except when it was my aunt and uncle’s cottage) and annoying. Wolf and his sister/wife (!?!?!) are really odd too – living in such a remote place, mentioning things but never explaining them – who is Jilly? What’s wrong with Hildy?
This increasingly descends into very black comedy and the beginnings of a horror story where Wolf and ‘Mrs Wolf’ are serial killers or something. The woods are not always full of teddy bears having picnics, sometimes there are wolves…
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.