"After The Forest" Readalong Days 4/5

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 like bookish charades, shelf scavenger hunts and coloring pages!
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 13-20 of After The Forest, so make sure you read or are finished this section before continuing.


Remember! Our monthly discussions will be both here on the OwlCrate blog AND on The Nest!

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 like bookish charades, shelf scavenger hunts and coloring pages!

On each day we'll read a section of A Study In Drowning both on the blog and in The Nest's group, and then discuss in the comments our theories and predictions. This means there will be spoilers for each section! Beware! 

Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for chapters 1-3 of A Study In Drowning, so make sure you read or are finished this section before continuing.

After The Forest - OwlCrate Special Edition
photo by : @a.o.tales

After The Forest Readalong

We're going to pretend yesterday didn't happen, sorry folks! I was delayed by my great grandmother's birthday. 

So today you'll get a 2-in-1 from me! 

Chapter Thirteen

Greta attens Jacobs funeral. It's been days since she talked to Hans, ever since she saw him stealing from Jacob's coin purse. 

After the funeral she goes to the graves of her mother and father. She sees that someone has marked her mother's grave with the word meaning “witch”. It's then that a couple of villagers come upon Greta, accusing her and her mother of witchcraft. Greta tosses it back at them, replying “if anyone listens to the Devil's words, it's you”. 

After a few more days she returns to the village for church but instead goes to see Rob. They go to his house where the men have returned but did not find who killed Jacob, man, wolf, or bear. Conran is there and he's informed that Greta has the ‘green’ and is studying with Mira. Mira takes Greta into the wood to train her. They sprout seeds and then finally, Greta is taught to turn into a fox. 

Chapter Fourteen

Greta returns home to find Hans on the doorstep. He asks her why she was not at church and then reveals that he's to marry Ingrid Winters the next day. Her younger sister, Brigitta caught them together and now they must wed for her virtue. 

Hans is upset about this but asks that Greta comes to the celebration and if she could please make gingerbread.

Greta agrees, using the book to make the gingerbread. While baking, the book suggests she add a drop of blood for her brother's happiness, and so she does. 

Christof then comes to her when she's outside gathering berries to dye some clothes. He asks if he can accompany her into the woods and she says yes. He tells her a story about his mother, and how his father had beget him on a pagan woman and then left the village. He returned for Christof when she died. After they speak they find bear tracks and Christof wonders how much he may be paid to show the village leaders where the bear is. Greta asks him not to. 

Later, Greta is in the woods when she comes upon Mathias. He tells her that he left the men a day into their journey to look for Jacob's killer. He says he came very close to finding them but ultimately had to return. 

He asks Greta if she'd like to share dinner with him and they eat rabbits over a fire while Mathias tells her about his homeland. 

She asks him to come to the wedding celebration with her and he accepts. 

Chapter Fifteen

Greta takes the enchanted gingerbread to the wedding celebration where it does an excellent job of making merry. 

Too much merry. 

Hans is annoyed with Greta for enchanting everyone but Herr Winters is generous, and gets a house for he and Ingrid, and everyone is happy. 

Rob finds a quiet moment to speak with Greta about her father. Explains that he once saved him from battle by using a wolf's pelt and having your father flee. It worked, and Rob saved him. Greta thinks it's ironic that people thank God instead of the witchcraft that saved her father. 

Mathias is at the party and does not want to dance but Brigitta cajoles him. After Greta dances with him she's beset by Herr Hueber, who is angry to see her dance with the man. 

He accuses her of witchcraft so she curses him and he runs away heaving. 

Mathias sees but tells her that he doesn't care. They embrace and are almost found by Hans. 

Chapter Sixteen

Mathias walks Greta home. When they get to the house they nearly embrace again but Greta notices the door open. When Mathias goes to investigate, she feels a presence and a woman's finger on her neck.

She screams and Mathias runs outside. He tells her that he needs to go find ‘her’ and Greta watches him leave. 

Greta notices that there is a bright red apple on the table, the same type of apple that had once been found in her dead mother's hand. 

She tells the book, which she finds in a different location than where she left it, about the evening. It encourages her to look for Mathias and gives her a spell that will take her to his location. 

The catch? Of course it uses a drop of blood. 

Chapter Seventeen

Hans goes to Greta, telling her of his worries about being a husband and father. He's worried he won't make a good either. 

Greta reassures him and he leaves. 

It's then that Mathias shows back up but tells Greta that he must go away again, but when he comes back, he'll explain everything to her. Greta makes him something to eat and then sews the yarn made by her spell into his coat. 

After he leaves, Greta uses the spell to follow him. It shows her to the cave and Greta is worried to go inside it because of the bear. Once she does she realizes that the cave held the bear and Mathias as she spots his belongings and coin. She also sees a letter from Mathias's wife to him, worried and hopeful that Mathias will be able to be healed from his bear affliction

She pieces together that Mathias is the bear and he returns to the cave. 

Greta is angry and does not want to listen to Mathias's explanations. He pleads with her to listen to him but she leaves, walking away through the dark forest, using a tree's hollow as refuge. 

Chapter Eighteen

Mira finds Greta in the tree the next day. She tells Greta she knows that she used tattermagic, twice now and the argument she had with Mathias. 

Mira urges Greta to remember the day she thinks she killed the witch, but it was not Greta who pushed her into an oven. 

Instead it was Greta's prayer to the woods. The trees rose up and destroyed the witch, saving Greta and her brother. Her brother made up the story about Greta saving the witch and she'd been carrying that with her a long time. 

Mira tells Greta to go to Mathias and she does. He explains that he can never be a proper husband to her but she does not care. 

They embrace. 

Chapter Nineteen

Greta and Mathias talk about his past. Mathias has lived for over 200 years and 174 of those has been as a bear, cursed by a witch who wed his father. 

The witch, who goes by many names, including Liesbeth to Mathias, is ancient. With black hair and ruby red lips, using blood red apples as a calling card. 

Greta learns that Mathias's mother was killed by her and so was Greta's mother. Now the witch is after Greta. 

Mathias explains that she has taken the place of the Baron's wife, that the witch is Elisabeth, the Baroness terrorizing the valley. 

Greta explains to Mathias that she is after Greta, and that she promised to be back ‘soon’. 

Mathias sends Greta back to her cottage and vows to go kill the witch and her familiar mage. 

Chapter Twenty

Greta returns to the house but does not feel safe there. She packs her gingerbread molds and leaves the book at the cottage. 

On the way down to town she sees Christof who has gone to help a neighbour with a late season planting. Greta helps them and learns that the planting season is so late because the Baroness has been taking so many people for the Blood Tithe. 

After they till the field and are all hungry, Christof takes them to the pub. There Greta sees Hans Hueber who threatens her with a witchfinder, vowing to rid the valley of witchcraft. 

Suddenly, someone comes into the pub exclaiming that the Baroness has been attacked by a black bear, but that her companion fended it off. 

The Baroness has chosen to bait the bear with dogs and it will be killed…



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