The Way of the River

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Life is perfect for fifteen-year-old Elinora Wolton…for the most part. Anxious by nature and resistant to the often painful metamorphosis of growing up, she is most content when she is able to avoid uncomfortable feelings and experiences. This proves easy enough to do living a secure, sheltered life at Kellandale, a quiet country estate that has been isolated from many of the world’s problems. But in Kellandale Wood (Book One): The Way of the River, a tween fantasy/adventure set a hundred years ago in the country of Eldmoor, this estate also happens to sit on the edge of a vast forest. Known as Wyches Wood to some, it is a forest with a centuries-old reputation of being haunted. No one has dared to enter it for the last two hundred years, and Elinora and her precocious, easily bored younger sister Tillie have been strictly forbidden from going near it by their parents—a fact that drives Tillie mad.

But this all changes when they witness a man mysteriously dropping a parcel into the river within their property. Despite Elinora’s initial reluctance, Tillie—always curious and relentlessly persistent—persuades Elinora to go searching for it with her, taking them both on a journey deep into the woods. There they encounter a young wolfhound they find trapped in a burlap sack, left for dead. They name him Henry and bring him home. Over time, as they begin to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding his abandonment, they not only discover his extraordinary ability, but also what links their family to the forest, and the forest to Henry’s own traumatic past.

In order to help Henry find his canine family, Elinora is forced to face down her own deepest fears as she and Tillie, along with their allies, are pitted against a greedy and unscrupulous showman. Along the way, their quest brings a cast of many together to achieve what at first seems to be the impossible, and ultimately reveals the truth of the legendary enchanted woods and the mystic river that flows through it.

About the Story

In a world suffering from greed, social injustice, threats of animal extinction, and environmental threats, this tale is a reflection on the importance of cherishing our own interconnectedness to nature and to all living beings, human and animal alike. It has been my purpose to write a story for a young audience that is hopeful to read—one that encourages kindness, open communication, and the desire to work with others to enact positive change—all told within the context of a fantasy adventure. The Way of the River is the result, and is a 350-ish page INBT/tween tale written with readers age 11-14 in mind, although it is meant to be enjoyed by all. If you are drawn to stories such as Mary Stewart’s The Little Broomstick, Hayao Miyazaki’s Totoro, CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series, or Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle, this might be the next book for you!

Watch this space for more details as they are posted. Here you can meet the characters and discover the world of Elinora and Ottilie Wolton and friends through illustrations, character bios, story excerpts, and more!

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