A creative coming-of-age story about a disabled tree sprite’s journey away from her forest home to save a boy’s broken spirit. Tree sprite Scarlet Oak exists as an outlier in her forested society. Wingless since early youth, she imagines deeper things, longing to know more than a warm bond with her birth oak. Then, one autumn night in 1977, an autistic boy wanders into her realm and hangs himself from her tree. Heartbroken, Scarlet bargains with Smis, Southern Maryland’s Grim Reaper, for one cycle of seasons to find proof that the boy’s spirit belongs to the Light, not the Dark. Morphing into human form, she finds the boy’s distraught father a few steps from her woods and extends a crimson leaf to him. Soothed for a moment, he brings her to his wife on their isolated farm. Scarlet eases into the couple’s abode, the bluebell house, which, like the boy’s parents, is beautifully fragile, guarded, and wilting with a dark secret. The couple keeps her close, a balm for their grief, but she strays into her own secret with a young man. Meanwhile Smis, a walking calendar, shadows Scarlet’s search to rescue the boy. And as Scarlet grows to love her humans, she risks losing her magic and never truly returning to nature’s wild, where the boy’s spirit may forever be lost. Scarlet Oak is a soulful exploration of the resilience that we all possess, and a gentle call reminding us how love can transcend grief.
Publisher: Autumn Rising Press LLC
Pub Date: 02/2021
Size: 8.50h x 5.50w x 0.76d