Tuesday 4 May 2021

Guest Review: Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

Every family has its secrets, and at Hedgehog Hollow there is no exception...

It was always Samantha's dream to run her beautiful rescue centre, Hedgehog Hollow, full-time. But just as her wish comes true, she becomes a victim of her own kindness when she finds herself with a house full of guests - all with their own problems and secrets - looking to her for support.

When her self-absorbed cousin, Chloe, unexpectedly turns up at the farm - swiftly handing over her baby to Samantha to care for – trouble is definitely brewing. Especially as Chloe won’t tell anyone why she’s left her husband, James...

As Samantha juggles new hedgehog arrivals, family dramas and her own health challenges, it soon becomes clear that she needs to start putting herself first for once. Little does she know that life-changing secrets from the past are about to unravel and turn their lives upside down...

Review: This is the third book in the Hedgehog Hollow series by Jessica Redland. As with the preceding book in the series, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, the author has helpfully included details of the story so far and also a guide to recurring characters, making it easier for readers new to the series to appreciate this story. Having now read all three books, I would advise that all should still be read in order - the ongoing story is so enjoyable. Another nice feature of this book is the addition at the end of some facts about hedgehogs and advice about caring for them. I have been looking forward to reading this book and catching up with the characters, both human and animal. In common with the last two in the series, I found this an absorbing story and finished it all too quickly.

The narrative picks up where the preceding story ended. Samantha Wishaw is now running her well established hedgehog rescue centre at Hedgehog Hollow farm in the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds with the help of fiancĂ© Josh. However, life is not as peaceful as it once was with the pair now sharing the house with Josh’s dad and new family. Then, out of the blue, Sam’s cousin, Chloe, and baby Samuel turn up, Chloe declaring that she’s left husband James but not giving any reason for the split. Chloe’s selfish behaviour causes real problems in the crowded household and adds yet more stress for Sam, whose health is already being jeopardised by the effects of violent incidents that have plagued the centre since she moved in. Moreover, when Chloe’s story is finally revealed, it causes a shockwave throughout the family.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this absorbing and dramatic story which kept me spellbound from beginning to end. I experienced a range of emotions as I followed the various characters through their own personal journeys, the only constant being sympathy and admiration for Sam as she dealt with everything that was thrown at her. The author has presented her cast of characters with a wide range of issues from cancer to PTSD (and fly strike to broken legs in the case of our spiny friends), and approached all with great sensitivity. I would have to admit to finding it hard to like some of the characters in this story, in particular Sam’s spoilt and selfish cousin Chloe, but I’m obviously not as understanding as Sam. The book ended on a really dramatic cliffhanger and I’m just aching to find out what happens in Jessica Redland’s next book in the series, which can’t come soon enough for me.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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