Book details

Upon a Starlit Tide

Author: Kell Woods

Upon a Starlit Tide

Upon a Starlit Tide

About This Book

Upon a Starlit Tide is a dark and enchanting fairy tale-inspired historical fantasy combining elements of "The Little Mermaid" and "Cinderella" into a wholly original tale of love,...

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Book Details

Upon a Starlit Tide is a dark and enchanting fairy tale-inspired historical fantasy combining elements of "The Little Mermaid" and "Cinderella" into a wholly original tale of love, power, and betrayal.

Saint-Malo, Brittany, 1758. For Lucinde Leon, the youngest daughter of one of Saint-Malo's wealthiest ship-owners, the high walls of the city are more hindrance than haven. While her sisters are interested in securing advantageous marriages, Luce dreams of escaping her elegant but stifling home and joining a ship’s crew. Only Samuel—Luce’s best friend and an English smuggler—understands her longing for the sea, secretly teaching her to sail whenever she can sneak away. For Luce, the stolen time on the water with Samuel is precious.

One stormy morning, Luce’s plans are blown off course when she rescues Morgan de Chatelaine, the youngest son of the most powerful ship-owner in Saint-Malo, from the sea. Immediately drawn to his charm and sense of adventure, she longs to attend the glittering ball held in honor of his safe return and begins to contemplate a different kind of future for herself.

But it is not only Luce’s hopes that are at stake—the local fae are leaving Brittany and taking their magic with them, while the long-standing war with the English means Saint-Malo is always at risk of attack. As Luce is plunged into a world of magic, brutality, and seduction, secrets that have long been lost in the shadowy depths of the ocean begin to rise to the surface, as dangerous as any reef. Even so, she finds that the truth of her own power is growing brighter and brighter, shining like a sea-glass slipper.

Or the scales of a sea-maid's tail.

“Kell Woods is a born storyteller with a wonderful imagination.”—Natasha Lester, New York Times bestselling author of The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre

Imprint Publisher

Tor Books



In The News


"This wonderful, well-woven story is so rich and affecting you can't help but savour every single sentence. With characters that leap off the page, worldbuilding that immerses you completely, and a perfectly paced plot, Woods's clever retelling of the popular Hansel and Gretel fairy tale succeeds in giving us something novel and authentic."—T.L. Huchu, USA Today bestselling author of The Library of the Dead

“The love for and understanding of fairytales runs deep in Kell Woods' book, and it's sure to interest anyone who has an appreciation for dark forests, enchanted princes, and clever witches.”—NPR

“Kell Woods’ debut takes familiar stories and tropes from the vast corpus of the Brothers Grimm and smartly weaves them into an excellent historical fantasy novel. After the Forest is poetic, evocative, and most of all, addictive. . . . After the Forest is high up on my list of best books of 2023. An author to watch and a powerhouse debut.”—Grimdark Magazine

“A dark and wondrous tale. Utterly enchanting.”—Kate Forsyth, bestselling author of The Crimson Thread

“After the Forest is as deliciously irresistible as the gingerbread Greta bakes in the book. A touch of magic, a dash of mystery, a sprinkle of love and lashings of elegant writing make for a gorgeous debut novel that you'll want to consume in one gulp. Kell Woods shows that she's a born storyteller with a wonderful imagination and I, for one, am now a huge fan.”—Natasha Lester, New York Times bestselling author of The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre

Clever. . . . Her mingling of this historical setting with the magical – shape-shifters, forest magic, unnaturally long lives – works beautifully. This is a worthy addition to the world of fairy tale continuations.”—Locus Magazine

"[An] elegant debut. . . . Offer this lyrical, character-rich fantasy to fans of Mary McMyne’s The Book of Gothel (2022) and Genevieve Gornichec’s The Weaver and the Witch Queen (2023)"—Booklist, STARRED review

Evocative, vivid, and enchanting: Historical fantasy at its best.”—Belinda Alexandra, bestselling author of The French Agent

"Woods builds her bewitching historical fantasy debut out of folklore and fairy tale but grounds it in childhood trauma and awakening love. . . . All of Woods’s characters are drawn with exceptional sensitivity, and Greta’s well-crafted struggle to thrive despite early suffering and ongoing societal prejudice resonates. Woods is a powerful new voice in speculative fiction."—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“This is utterly captivating novel blends folklore and European history with themes of family discord, trauma and self-discovery. . . Dark as molasses and dripping with witchcraft, love and magic gingerbread, After the Forest is the fairytale retelling of the year.”—Lauren Chater, bestselling author of The Winter Dress

“With one foot in history, the other in folklore, After the Forest is a love song to fairy tales. Replete with secrets, magic, witches and wolves, bears and whispering books, Greta’s world is one where enchantment can become a curse on the turn of a tongue. At once sweet as gingerbread and bitterly dark as heart’s blood, After the Forest is reminiscent of Juliet Marillier at her finest.”—Angela Slatter, award-winning author of The Path of Thorns

"Readers will root for Greta to finally achieve her happily ever after while also relishing Woods’ dark, folklore-infused story. After the Forest is full of enchanting references to various folk tales and truly feels like a children’s storybook come to life, albeit one with delightfully wicked and haunting twists. With its cookbooks that speak (and bite!) and enchanted gingerbread, After the Forest is a tantalizing treat.”—BookPage, STARRED review

“Kell Woods has a historian’s eye for detail, a born storyteller’s understanding of tropes, and a poet’s gift for description. Woods’ debut offers readers a fresh take on fairytale reimaginings, exploring women’s agency through a convergence of myth, magic and history. A sophisticated and intricately plotted debut with a compelling heroine.”—Jo Riccioni, award-winning author of The Branded and The Rising

“An enchanting (sometimes tear-jerking) concoction spiced with shapeshifting wolves, a cursed bear, green witches, and gorgeous fairy tale symbolism, and I devoured every word. If you’re looking for a wondrous and terrifying fairy tale, Kell Woods has the secret ingredient.”—The Fairy Tale Magazine

About the Creators

Upon a Starlit Tide

Upon a Starlit Tide