Book Reviews

Penn's Woodland by David Connor at JMS Books

Genre Gay / Historical / Paranormal / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 15-November-2019

Book Blurb

Years ago, Penn's lover was attacked in the woods, and most think Penn is to blame ... including Penn. Ever since, he's been a prisoner in his home and his mind. When world renowned architect Ewan Parish arrives to construct a secure, enclosed walkway through those woods, Penn is surprised, suspicious, and also fearful.

Ewan is intrigued by the mysterious, reclusive Penn, his journals, and the beautiful artwork he's drawn, which Ewan recreates in the walkway's iron scrollwork. Determined to free Penn, Ewan sets out to unravel the mystery that has resulted in Penn's imprisonment by his family and conscience all these years.

First edition published by Less Than Three Press, July 2015.

Book Review

“They say the truth hurts, but the only thing the truth hurts, are illusions.” ~ Julie Gregory, Sickened: The True Story of a Lost Childhood

For as long as he can remember, Pennsylvania (Penn), of ‘Penn’s Woodland’ by David Connor, has been told that there’s something wrong with him - that he’s sick at best and, at worst, a monster. To keep him safe, he has been imprisoned in his room.

In order to give Penn a modicum of freedom, he designs a complex metal walkway that will allow him to go outside. After seeing an example of an artist’s work in a magazine, Penn suggests to his sister and caretaker, Georgia, that he thinks that the artist, Ewan Parrish, will be the best person to construct the walkway. Georgia contacts Ewan who, after receiving her letter, comes to see the site and accepts the project. Georgia gives Ewan free reign of the property with one exception. Ewan is not allowed to have any contact with Penn. This rule confuses Ewan and being the rebellious person he is, Ewan has no intention of obeying what he considers arbitrary.  

While exploring the basement, Ewan discovers notes that Penn has written and hidden between the cracks in the floor. Through these, Ewan gets an uncensored glimpse into Penn’s mind. Ewan is not surprised to find that the years of isolation have left Penn confused and lonely. With only his aunt for company and all outside contact controlled by her, Penn is totally dependent on her. Ewan is determined to reach Penn and help him figure out what is going on.

Penn is intrigued by Ewan. What begins as curiosity soon morphs into an obsession, one with sexual overtones. Years of imprisonment have worn Penn down, causing him to doubt whether what he is thinking is real or imaginary. His isolation is, in part, because of his love for another man. Although Penn has no memory of it, he is told by his family that he either seriously wounded or killed the man. Penn doesn’t want to believe it, but the fact that his lover hasn’t contacted him since then, leads Penn to conclude that it must be true.

This an unusual story, written in first person, by Penn himself, whose narration is anything but reliable. His isolation and dependency on his aunt give him a skewed point of view. It’s a story that must be read slowly and with deliberation because the clues are so intertwined with Pen’s mental state that they are difficult to discern. All in all, it’s a book that made me think and that’s always a good thing. Thanks, David, for a unique reading experience.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by JMS Books for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 34229 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 18-September-2019
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link