The Red Grove: A Novel (Hardcover)

The Red Grove: A Novel By Tessa Fontaine Cover Image
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When her mother goes missing, a young woman uncovers the secrets beneath her protected community.

The women asked: How are they safe?

And Tamsen Nightingale said: In this red grove, no woman can be harmed. No violence may come upon her. No injury to her flesh from the flesh of another.

The Story of the Sisters, Welcoming Incantation

The Red Grove is a special place, protected. Some say a spell was cast by the community’s founder, Tamsen Nightingale. Some say the mountain lions who stalk the nearby hills guard its mysteries and its people. Some say the mighty redwoods keep them safe.

Yet Luce’s mother, Gloria, has gone missing. A man came seeking answers among the Red Grove’s mysteries—a connection to the beyond—and died. And then Gloria vanished. The Red Grove is Luce’s whole world. She is devoted to its mission, its rituals and myths. But she knows that her mother, frustrated free spirit though she might be, wouldn’t just leave without a word, wouldn’t leave her little brother, Roo, and especially their aunt Gem, whose care in that suspended state of everdream depends on Gloria in every way. But as Luce tries to figure out what has happened to her mother, she discovers that this special place is not what it seems and that protection comes at a cost.

The debut novel by the acclaimed author of The Electric Woman, Tessa Fontaine's The Red Grove is an exploration of the legacies of violence, the price of safety, and the choices we make to protect what we love.

About the Author

Tessa Fontaine is the author of The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts, which was named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers choice, and a best book of the year by Southern Living, Amazon, Refinery29, and the New York Post. Her writing can be found in Outside, Glamour, AGNI, and The Believer. She has been a sideshow performer, a shoe saleswoman, and a professor, and she taught for years in jails and prisons. She cofounded and runs the Accountability Workshop with the writer Annie Hartnett. Raised among the redwoods of Northern California, she now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, daughter, goofy dog, and sassy cat.

Praise For…

The Red Grove is a deeply atmospheric, haunting, and propulsive missing-person tale that explores the reverberations of violence and our complex, sometimes mystical relationship with nature and with one another. In achingly beautiful language, Tessa Fontaine illuminates the space between reality and myth, story and history, utopia and dystopia. I loved this novel.”
—Angie Kim, author of Happiness Falls

“An eerie and beautiful exploration of the violence between men and women and the true nature of magic, The Red Grove is a shimmering, hidden world, and Tessa Fontaine is ferocious in every line. Intoxicating and impossible to put down.”
—Rufi Thorpe, author of Margo’s Got Money Troubles

The Red Grove tells the tale of a magical place deep in the woods where no man can hurt a
woman—then turns that magic over to expose its fly-riddled underside. Ambitious, inventive,
and gorgeously written, it will lead you where you never thought to go.”
—Julia Phillips, author of Disappearing Earth

“At once a haunting dream, a taut mystery, a level stare at gender violence, and an intricate generational tale of love and fear, Tessa Fontaine’s humane and stirring The Red Grove is unlike any other novel I’ve ever read.”
—Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

The Red Grove is a spellbinding tale of myth and mystery, of loyalties tested, of violence, determination, doubt, and love. With tenderness and intelligence, Tessa Fontaine has crafted a story that is at once strange, troubling, and hopeful, with characters who will win readers’ hearts. A first-rate fiction debut.”
—Therese Anne Fowler, author of It All Comes Down to This

“Faced with the many chilling ways humans tear up utopias, Tessa Fontaine’s The Red Grove does not flinch as it treads a dark and thrilling path through nature, community, magic, and love.”
—Samantha Hunt, author of The Unwritten Book

“This gorgeous, frightening novel maps the hidden roots—as intricately woven as those beneath the ancient redwood forest of its setting—that link mother to daughter, and sibling to sibling, and utopia to fear. The Red Grove is a strange and wondrous flowering, equal parts gripping mystery, moving coming-of-age story, and brilliant exploration of the self-definition of a community founded on an impossible promise. Tessa Fontaine has given us a deft and enrapturing novel full of underground secrets, ready to spring.”
—Claire Beams, author of The Illness Lesson

“A daughter’s quest to find her vanished mother yields a scorching and suspenseful exploration of the complex architectures of families, the mysteries entrenched in landscapes, and the illusory nature of safety. Is the enigmatic Red Grove a sanctuary or a site of violence? Tessa Fontaine’s thrilling novel shines a bright light on the foundational myths on which lives are built.”
—Laura van den Berg, author of I Hold a Wolf by the Ears

The Red Grove depicts a commune high in the redwoods where all women are safe from any harm. Can that even be possible? I was hooked from the first page, wanting to discover the answer to that question—but wanting even more to be in the beautiful forest among the animals and the people who come to vivid life in these pages. This is a truly rich reading experience that I’ll be thinking about for a long time. Tessa Fontaine is brilliant.”
—Alice Elliott Dark, author of Fellowship Point

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374605810
ISBN-10: 0374605815
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: May 14th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English