A Door in the Forest


Sooner or later, we all must step through the door in the forest.

At the midpoint of three towns, in the center of three streams, in the heart of a forest, lies a mysterious island. Encircled by quicksand and sewn shut by vines, it is impenetrable to all but the poisonous snakes patrolling its waters. But Daniel is determined to get there, along with his friend Emily.

Emily is a bit mysterious herself. She’s a girl who knows more than she can say, whose mother was abducted by government troops, and whose eccentric grandmother reads the future in her bubble bath.

Enter the soldiers. Their menacing commander is terribly interested in Daniel's sleepy little town. Is he searching for something? A treasure map? The island? The girl?

  •  Kansas Notable Book Award


"A moving fantasy. . . . Townley provides revelations that are both comic and awesome. . . .This lovely tale should impress young readers." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"A seamlessly woven tale of mystery, fantasy, and magic, The Door in the Forest is enchanting. Brimming with wonderfully vivid descriptions of places, quirky characters and events, readers beware--once you begin this extraordinary novel you will be mesmerized from start to finish." —GREATEST BOOKS FOR KIDS

"Townley's fanciful story swings like a pendulum from Wild West tall tale to a vague mysticism that is enlivened by colorful imagery. . . . Quirky and engaging." —THE HORN BOOK

"Intriguing characters and a strong sense of quest will keep readers turning the pages of this fast-paced book. . . . A suspenseful, thought-provoking fantasy." —BOOKLIST

"A lively blend of whimsy and unsettling mystery. . . . Fans of the author's earlier Sylvie Cycle will enjoy the complexities of this more mature fantasy." —SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

"A story of secrets, friendships and quicksand—all the elements of an entertaining middle grade novel to curl up with in front of the fireplace." —THE KANSAS CITY STAR

How It Came to Be

A big reason we moved to our new house was the secret behind it—a woodland creek surrounding an island, home to deer, coyotes, beaver, and even a great blue heron.

We can see the creek from our deck, and I began to ask what-if questions. What if you couldn't get to the island? What if it were protected in some magical way?

It was out of this sense of mystery that the story began to take form.

And I made sure to save a special role for our wonderful blue heron!