Penn’s Woodland

Author: David Connor

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Rating: 2.5 stars

Buy Links: LT3 and Amazon

Type: Short Story

Received from Publisher


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 finds himself 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…


Review:  I was pretty intrigued by the blurb of this one. Man hides away from the world because he thinks and is in fact told he’s such a monster and wrong because he’s attracted to men. That he has to be locked up in a cell at his home. He has little to no human contact and hasn’t spoken aloud in years. Until a beautiful world renowned architect that his sister hired to build something on their land shows up and ignores all warnings to stay away from the home Penn has become a prisoner in. This stirs up feelings Penn has tried to stop having since that awful night.

Ewan the architect flees his life once again and travels a great distance to build something that intrigues him. He leaves behind his fiancee he has no intention of marrying on a whim. Then becomes captivated by the man inside the home. So much so that he puts himself right in the danger of whatever sinister thing is going on at the manor of these people.

So many parts of this story just didn’t work for me. The love story was fairly creepy for me personally. Penn is this beautiful man boy who is portrayed very young and broken. Ewan wants to help him, which I was happy for, but he also gets pervy pretty quickly. Penn is a mute prisoner who thinks his attraction to males is a bad thing and here comes this guy with a fiancee wanting to touch him. It just didn’t sit right with me. So of course I couldn’t get into the coupling of them. They had no problem because there was some very fast professions of love despite them barely knowing each other. To be fair Penn writes beautifully apparently but discards them through the floor in his home so his sister never gets them but Ewan finds them. So I guess he got to know or fell in love with Penn through those writings? Just didn’t resonate with me however.

The mystery revolving the disappearance of the ex lover and family members was pretty intriguing. Sadly it all ended very anti climactic and unbelievable. Sort of all over the place. There was an attempt to twist and turn things that just didn’t work IMO. The story telling felt jarring from one scene to the next. The characters weren’t very believable and I never warmed to any of them. Sadly this one was a total miss for me.

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