Escape from Witchwood Hollow
by Jordan Elizabeth Mierek4 out of 5
Everyone in Arnn - a small farming town with more legends than residents - knows the story of Witchwood Hollow: if you venture into the whispering forest, the witch will trap your soul among the shadowed trees.
After losing her parents in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother escape New York City to Arnn. In the lure of that perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she should be afraid.
Perhaps the witch can reunite her with her lost parents. Awakening the witch, however, brings more than salvation from mourning, for Honoria discovers a past of missing children and broken promises.
To save the citizens of Arnn from becoming the witch’s next victims, she must find the truth behind the woman’s madness.
How deep into Witchwood Hollow does Honoria dare venture?
Three young women from different times, find their fates woven together by the dangerous Witchwood Hollow.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
The first thing I have to say, is that it did take a while to get into, and I found it a slow-builder.
This is probably because - despite the synopsis focusing solely on Honoria (2002) - the story is split equally with Lady Clifford (1670) and Albertine Slack (1850).
I liked their stories, and didn't mind the split narratives - personally, I didn't think Honoria was strong enough to carry the book by herself. But it did mean that it took longer to get into their respective adventures, as it kept breaking off.
Lady Clifford is a young lady that is chased into the Hollow by those that accuse her of witchcraft and murder.
Albertine Slack has moved to America to live on the farm her father has started, and to meet her husband-to-be, the neighbouring farmer's son. Taking a shortcut through the woods is soon a bad idea.
Honoria moves to Arnn after her parents' death in the Twin Towers, and starts to investigate the mystery of Witchwood Hollow and its many victims over the years.
My favourite character is Albertine; she just automatically mothers everyone, isn't afraid of hard work or duty, and has a sense of adventure. She has a self-confidence that can make her dismissive of warnings, etc; but she was the one I was really rooting for.
Once you're past the first third, the stories make a nice mystery that pulls you along with hints and tidbits. Even when everything falls into place, there is a feeling that the story could easily go in any direction and surprise you.
There are also some very poignant moments, and a focus on the importance of family, and the family you make. There were a couple of characters I felt very sorry for, they had come up against an emotional wall, and their choices started to have a very skewed logic.
I would recommend this read, and I will be checking out Mierek's other work.