I was thinking recently, because I'm reading The Wood Wife, about place, and stories, and magic/wonder.
The Wood Wife is a very... place-focused book. A lot of books are, Daughter of the Forest was too, the one I read just before it. Daughter of the Forest is a story that would not work without Ireland, and without Britain (before the first place was part of the second), and the cultural roots and atmosphere of those places. The Wood Wife is also a story that would not work without place, because it is all about the magic of the Arizona desert, how the desert hides wild and strange things and how it can transform a person.
Because of this, I find the book interesting, but, in a detached way... it makes me curious to learn about the magic of the desert, and difficult to feel close to the book, also. Those things come from the same place... I don't understand desert magic. It is not my natural place, it is not my way, it is not my home.
I realise that place makes a big difference for me, if I want to feel and experience the magic in a story. It's influence for me, even before I read a book, what kind of place I think that book is about. In fact, I was excited to read The Wood Wife because the title makes me think, it will be about woods, which exist usually in cold places, with a lot of rain. That's where I find spiritual comfort. I love stories that are about forests, or green hills, or mountains and cold, icy lands. I have never been to Ireland or Scotland, but I do enjoy stories that have an Irish or Scottish theme because, simply, I like trees and water and storms and rain. I need them, to be spiritual in my full detail.
I am a water bird and, in Hermetic tradition water is associated with darkness and shadow, and, I am also a shadow creature. I can't have the light on me all the time. I need shade and I need rain, and, I feel most magical with those things around me. I also wonder a little, if there is a truth to the idea of "roots" in a blood sense... I don't normally think about it, but, I wonder, this blood was made for a Japanese climate and spirituality and, I wonder if it really does make a difference. If there is a truth to the idea that your spirituality, or spiritual pull/strength, can be passed down in blood, in a way.
I live in the desert, so, I hope that The Wood Wife will teach me about how to appreciate the magic here. But I feel like the forests will always be spiritual home for me.