As a reminder, from now on, our monthly discussions will be both here on the OwlCrate blog AND on The Nest! Go check out Amber's discussion that will be full of fun extras!
On each day we'll read a section of After The Forest on the blog and in The Nest's discussion group. You can find a book club style discussion on The Nest app, and an insider's view to curation and my thoughts on our book here on the blog.
Just a reminder that this post will be a SPOILER FILLED recap for chapters 5-8 of After The Forest, so make sure you read or are finished this section before continuing.
Greta is finishing up her baking when she sees someone outside. It's a soldier and she bonks him on the head before realizing that he's her old friend Jacob, who went to wear five years ago.
He invites himself inside and shares dinner with her. They talk a bit about the war but he admits that it disturbs him to do so.
Their dinner is interrupted by a knock at the door. It's the man from the falls. He introduces himself as Mathias and they invite him in to eat with them.
While they break bread, Jacob prods at Mathias getting to know him, and Mathias prods back at Jacob's soldiering. Jacob breaks down about the horrific things that soldiers did to the people of Prague and Mathias is kind enough to remind him that peace will come again.
Mathias eventually takes his leave after tasting some of Greta's gingerbread. She shows him outside where they hear the howl of wolves. She's frightened and Mathias reassures her that fear is nothing to be ashamed of.
Greta tells him that her mother was killed by wolves and then Mathias his leave.
When she goes back inside the cottage, Jacob teases her mercilessly about her fancying Mathias.
Then, he spots the book.
Jacob begs Greta to burn the recipe book and even throws it into the fire.
Instead of burning, it bites him and Greta fishes it out of the fire, burning her own fingers instead.
It's at that moment that Hans returns from drinking and pours himself and Jacob a drink. Jacob argues with him, angry that Hans has let her keep the book. They argue too over Hans's jealousy and Jacob's new status. Jacob stays the night and in the morning helps Greta take her gingerbread to the market. While on the road they notice a woman on horseback trampling the wheat fields and Greta is unsettled when she's stared at by the baroness, Elisabeth.
Jacob doesn't return to the cottage and the next morning, Greta goes to look for him. She searches and cannot find him but then remembers the tree house.
She notices a small sylvan creature that whispers to her that she shouldn't be there but she ignores it, hearing Jacob's voice. Suddenly a woman stands at the end of the clearing, cloaked in black. Greta is terrified but she climbs the ladder, brushing against nightshade and finds no one inside the tree house.
Hearing Jacob behind her she turns instead to see her dead mother, Lena, who reaches into Greta's chest to grab her heart.
It's then that Mathias shows up and helps Greta down the tree. He reassures her and they go to look for Jacob together in town.
The town is set up for May Day. He finds Greta a space where she can see the whole market and look for Jacob, and then goes to look for refreshments.
Herr Hueber spies Greta and asks her about her settling her brother's debts. She asks him for more time and tells him she'd even consider employment and the price of a dance.
He agrees but Mathias shows up and Herr Hueber threatens to have him thrown out of town unless someone speaks for him.
Rob Mueller comes toward them, saying he will and it's clear that he and Mathias know one another. Rob asks Mathias if he's after “her” and Mathias says that he is. When Mira and Conrad come up to them, it's clear that they all know each other from way back.
Conrad is forceful with Rob, telling him that he will have to let Christof serve with him and that he should never have let his son get soft.
Greta asks Mathias how he and Rob know one another and everyone is cagey. Eventually Conrad leaves but not before threatening Rob.
Hans comes over to Greta, wanting to speak to her about something Christof has asked, but she reminds him Jacob is missing and he leaves.
Finally, Mathias asks her why she's never told anyone about the bear she saw and she responds that all creatures have a right to live, and that the bear has probably moved on.
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