Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow

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Like a hot cup of tea on a drizzly afternoon, coming home to another installment of the “HedgeHog Hollow” series is a creature comfort – a warm and cozy settling into your bones, as you sink into your favorite chair and prepare to sip and read and catch up with old friends, family, and (for the most part) amiable and welcoming neighbors.

Lovely to read as a stand-alone novel, or perhaps even nicer when read as part of the series (as is the case with this reader, gleefully working away through the set), Book 3, while not straying too far from the path set in the previous two, has a bit of a different vibe.

Following the familiar pattern of two alternating first-person POV narrators telling our story, in “Family Secrets” the story shifts between Samantha Wishaw, our main protagonist in the series, and her reckless and impatient cousin, twenty eight year-old Chloe Turner.

In this edition, (although we do catch up with Sam, her life and her hedgehog rescue center deep in the heart of Yorkshire), “ tantrums, crying babies, and secrets” take center stage of the story.

As we delve into Chloe’s world, the challenges of new marriage and the physical and emotional exhaustion that comes with new motherhood, (so recognizable to any parent), pave the way for trouble – compounded mercilessly as it becomes apparent that Chloe is wrestling with a terrible secret. A secret triggered suddenly and mysteriously, (and not revealed to the reader for a very long time), Chloe, now unable to escape from the “darkest moment of my life so far and the worst decision ever made”, battles a past that is threatening to up-end every emotional footing she has hoisted into place.

“You could run away from your past but you could never hide.”

With keen psychological insight, the author blends the emotional impact of Chloe’s past and the secret she bears; the stresses, challenges and struggles of both Sam and her mother with what may or may not be PTSD; one case of cancer recovery; another of ongoing cancer treatment; the ravages of parental estrangement; divorce; grief and the caustic bitterness of betrayal.

A genuine and totally engrossing mix of real-life, real problems, traumas and burdens, suffered by people who are doing their best, and no matter what coping behaviors (helpful or hurtful) are effected, managing to offer each other the kindness, compassion and lifeline, allowing, as Sam so succinctly puts it – “the lovely version of you, the real you ” – an opportunity to re-surface.

I love this series and loved this book.

A warm and comforting embrace of second chances, of letting go and moving on, and of, if not forgiveness, – a genuine understanding of what it means to be human, to be fallible, and yet to still be loved.

A great big thank you to the author for an ARC of this wonderful book. All thoughts presented are my own.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jessica Redland

    Thank you so much for your gorgeous review of Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. Much appreciated x

  2. Terri

    I just love this series! Thanks so much for a wonderful read🥰

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