It’s such a pleasure today to be helping launch the blog tour for Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland, and sharing my review: today is publication day (congratulations Jessica!), and this lovely book is now available for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited), in paperback, and as an audiobook. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to publishers Boldwood Books for my advance reading copy (provided via netgalley).
I don’t really need to tell you that Jessica’s one of my favourite authors, do I? It’s been so exciting to see how very well she’s done since joining Boldwood (they really do have some of the best authors I know!), now a full-time author, winning new fans with every book of hers they release, regularly hitting the top of the charts – and no-one could be more delighted about that than I am, or deserve it more than she does. Some of her Boldwood books have been re-packaged and freshly edited versions of her self-published books (and I already know we’ll be seeing a couple more in the run up to Christmas…!), but this one’s absolutely brand new. It’s also the first in a new series, a particularly lovely read, and everything I wanted it to be…
Can love really be found when you stop looking for it…?
As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.
But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.
Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.
Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…
Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.
Ok, maybe I’d have liked to see just a few more hedgehogs… but I’m most definitely not complaining, because I really thought this book was pretty close to perfect. This is a series I’m SO looking forward to following.
It’s very much a book of two halves. In the first, we really get to know Sam – her family background (goodness, her mother is truly horrendous – but her lovely dad more than makes up for that), her friendships, and the sad story of her relationship with the man who was the love of her life but who just couldn’t love her in the same way. And we really see how enormous her heart is when she befriends Thomas – a sad and lonely old widower with a broken heart – and slowly breaks down his defences. And then… well, I just had to put the book down for a while because I couldn’t read through the tears.
The second half of the book then focuses on Hedgehog Hollow, its restoration, and Sam’s mission to deliver on her promise to Thomas. And as the restoration work continues, Sam rebuilds her own life too – a fresh start, mending fences (although there are some that will always prove beyond repair), making new and very special friends, and perhaps even finding a little romance coming from a totally unexpected direction.
So that’s the story – well, more or less – but it doesn’t even begin to tell you how thoroughly gorgeous this book is. The author always has such a special touch with relationships – the complexities of families, the way people can hurt each other, the support of friends – and I’ve never seen her do it any better than she does in this book. I felt sheer rage at the way Sam was treated – how could they?! She’s so warm and caring and lovely, and I really hurt for her as everything in her life went haywire – and what’s more, there was a real legacy of injustice and unfairness too that she did absolutely nothing to deserve. Her sadness made me ache inside – all the emotional content is just superbly handled. And as well as the relationships, there’s also some real threat and drama – edge-of-the-seat writing, and so very well done.
The characterisation is exceptional – not just Sam and Thomas, but every single individual in the book, fully rounded, entirely real people behaving as well or badly as people do. The dialogue – another thing she always does so well – is better than ever, conversations and interactions you feel you’ve been allowed to overhear and be part of. And I absolutely loved the setting too – not the familiar surroundings of Whitsborough Bay this time, but the winding lanes of The Wolds, with Hedgehog Hollow itself described in the most loving of detail (goodness, I could smell that wildflower meadow!).
This whole book entirely enchanted me from beginning to end – I lived every twist and turn of the story, and felt a real sense of loss when I reached the end. All I can say is thank goodness it’s the start of a series… I’m going to really look forward to the time I spend at Hedgehog Hollow.
About the author
Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.