Monday, May 10, 2021

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, by Jessica Redland

Boldwood Books, ISBN 9781838890995, May 2021

Samantha and Josh are now happily engaged. Josh's father, Paul, and Paul's new wife, Beth, as well as their year-old son and infant daughter, are living with them. This is due to Paul's upcoming cancer treatment and Beth's near-fatal fall and injuries she's still recovering from.

So that's a pretty full house.

Samantha's cousin Chloe turns up, unannounced, with her baby. She's just left her husband, James, who was Samantha's boyfriend when he and Chloe became involved. She refuses to say why she's left James, and despite having ignored all Samantha's attempts at contact for weeks or more, she bitterly resents the fact that Samantha hadn't told her about her engagement to Josh.

Really, Chloe resents an awful lot. She also expects Samantha to take her in, and of course, Sam being Sam, she does. She's kind and generous, and Chloe has been her best friend as well as her cousin, at least until recently. But this is a pretty demanding situation for her, as she continues to run her hedgehog rescue.

The story is told in alternating chapters by Samantha and Chloe, and the family secrets that are revealed in the process are explosive. Samantha, Josh, Paul, Beth, Josh's mother Connie, are all engaging, likable characters, and it's wonderful to get to know them better.

Even getting Chloe's story from Chloe's viewpoint, I find her harder to like. She is, nevertheless, a more complex and understandable character than she seemed before. As a family story, this is absorbing and rewarding.

Unfortunately, this book ends in one heck of a cliffhanger, a real kick in the gut cliffhanger, and unlike some, this is something I do not appreciate discovering as a complete surprise at the end of the book. It really detracted from my enjoyment of the book overall.

I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for joining in the book tour for Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. Really sorry you felt that the epilogue leading into the next book spoilt your enjoyment of the overall story but thanks for taking the time to read it and share your views.
    Best wishes for a great week