And another book from a favourite author? I’m thrilled to be helping launch the blog tour and to share my publication day review of New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by the wonderful Jessica Redland: published today (7th January) by Boldwood Books, it’s now available as an ebook, in paperback and as an audiobook. Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading ecopy (provided via netgalley).
Where can I start when talking about Jessica? The success she’s achieved since joining Boldwood Books has totally delighted me, and I’ve been really looking forward to this second standalone book in the brand new series – I really so enjoyed the first, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (you’ll find my review here). Of course, Jessica again featured in my Books of the Year list last year – not with the hedgehogs (although it was a close thing…!) but with one of her Christmas books, Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe. Although it could just as easily have Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes – yes, I really do love her writing! – and you’ll find my reviews of both books here. And, just between us – no, it’s not really a secret! – I’ve noticed that one of my older favourites, Bear With Me, has been revised a little and is being republished by Boldwood on 11th March as All You Need Is Love, available for preorder now.
But let’s take a look at her latest, and find out how life’s treating Samantha, Josh and the hedgehogs…
Brand new from the top 10 bestselling author of New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow.
With new arrivals comes new responsibilities…
The sun is shining, wild flowers are blooming and Hedgehog Hollow is officially open for business.
For Samantha, the proud owner of this beautiful rescue centre, life has never been busier. But with an influx of new hogs and hoglets to take care of, not to mention a full-time job and ongoing family issues, can she accept the possibility that she has taken on more than she can handle?
Fortunately, she has the love of her life, Josh, by her side for support and encouragement. But Josh has his own family troubles to deal with. And soon he must decide if he’s ready to do the one thing he swore he’d never do – forgive his father.
For both Samantha and Josh it’s a season of change and for figuring out whether the past can ever truly be forgotten.
Escape back to wonderful Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting read full of love, hope and forgiveness.
Do try and read the first book, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, before you try this one – although I think it would probably work just fine as a standalone (although, with a bit of a cliffhanger, you’ll definitely want to read the next one as much as I do!), but I do think you’d love it even more if you knew the background to the setting up of Hedgehog Hollow, had met the wonderful Thomas, seen how Samantha and Josh’s lovely romance began, and understood a little more about their relationships with their families.
Samantha and Josh are just the loveliest couple – you can really feel the chemistry between them, all those gorgeous shared moments, so many of them on that bench overlooking Thomas and Gwendoline’s wildflower meadow. But oh my goodness, those family complications – there’s so much that could do with sorting out, and that’s probably the main thrust of the story. I particularly liked the way the narrative was alternately carried by them both – it was good to get an insight into their thoughts, and to understand some of their actions and the possible barriers to their future happiness.
Let’s stick with the humans for now (!), and I have to say that the author always creates the most wonderful living and breathing characters – some are really likeable (I particularly love Josh’s mother Connie, and this time new character Fizz ran her a close second) while there are a number of others who are considerably harder work. The exchanges between them – the nice and the not-so-nice – are so excellent, with that quality of conversations you’re allowed to overhear and be part of, always something I particularly enjoy about the author’s books.
Now although I thought the first book was pretty near perfect, I do remember saying that I’d like to have seen a few more hedgehogs – but I definitely have no complaints this time! Hedgehog Hollow’s now fully up and running, and doing brisk business – I learned so much about the care of hedgehogs, the dangers they encounter, and I think I might even be able to sex one now should one cross my path. Did you know baby hedgehogs are called hoglets? Heavens, they don’t half create some work when they come to the Hollow without their mums, and they really wouldn’t have any hope of survival without Samantha’s tender care.
Every hedgehog is given a name, recorded on a board – they’re working their way through cartoon characters, with a view lovely diversions along the way – and every single one of them becomes a character in their own right (there’s a goodbye to Mr Snuffles, one of the original residents, that really brought a tear to my eye!). We see the downside too, of course, the hedgehogs that can’t be saved… and feel Sam’s sadness when there’s just nothing she can do.
While the main focus is on all the family issues and the growing workload at the rescue centre (and how they cope with it), there are some well written moments of real drama too – not everyone is delighted by Sam’s success, and there’s a fair bit of threat and danger lurking because of that. And I really liked the book’s ending – you could put it down and walk away if you really wanted to, but there are a few loose threads left hanging, and one humdinger I’m looking dying to find out more about in the next book!
I’m already looking forward already to my next visit to Hedgehog Hollow – I thoroughly enjoyed this one, but I think I’ve said that about every book Jessica Redland has ever written. A really lovely read…
About the author
Jessica Redland is the author of ten 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.