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The White Forest

The White Forest

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • customer reviews
Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable and frightening gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. She finds solace in her only companions, Madeline and Nathan, but as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by jealousies and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite.

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451664263 | 
  • July 2013
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Adam McOmber on The White Forest

Adam McOmber's hauntingly original debut novel about a young woman whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society

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Read an Excerpt


Hampstead Heath, 18—

When Nathan Ashe disappeared from the ruined streets of Southwark, I couldn’t help but think the horror was, at least in part, my own design. I’d infected him, after all, filled him up with my so-called disease. The rank shadows and gaslight in the human warrens beyond Blackfriars Bridge did the rest. Madeline Lee, my dearest friend, would come to hate me for what I’d done. She said I ruined Nathan because of love, and that infecting him was my way of laying claim to his attentions. I couldn’t make her understand how he begged for it, begged me to touch him... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The White Forest includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Adam McOmber. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Set in Victorian London, The White Forestis the story of Jane Silverlake—a young woman with an unusual ability to see the souls of objects. When Jane reveals her ability to her best friends, Madeline Lee and Nathan Ashe, Nathan’s fascination with her talent upsets the balance of the trio’s friendship. Soon, Nathan has disappeared while participating in the dark activities of a cult that may have something to gain from Jane’s ability. Jane and Maddy resolve to find Nathan, but doing so forces Jane to confront the mysterious sources of her ability, and brings the three friends to the brink of a new reality from which they may not return: the Empyrean.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1.After Jane reveals her talent to her friends she tells Maddy: “When [Nathan] looks at you, Maddy, he sees a beautiful girl…when he looks at me, he sees my talent. We both have something to offer” (p. 89). How does Jane’s talent change the dynamic of the threeso see more



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