Title: Escape from Witchwood Hollow
Author: Jordan Elizabeth
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Source: Free ebook in exchange for an honest review
Imagine a sunlit forest, a moment of peace frozen in time. Imagine being in that forest, never wanting to leave. No, never being able to leave. Now imagine stumbling across other people in this forest, noting their strange way of dress and realising that everyone you ever knew is gone. That is Witchwood Hollow.
In Escape from Witchwood Hollow, two girls from different times find themselves caught by this mysterious, and cursed place. One tries to find her way out, while the other believes it is the only thing able to help her.
I really enjoyed the two different stories and, thinking back, it is difficult to determine which of the two main characters’ story lines I like the best. In fact, I found them mostly to work in opposites. Where I found one being a bit slow, the other picked up the pace. For fear of mild spoilers, I’ll just say that Honoria’s storyline explores her and her friend Leon trying to find out more about a Hollow which seems to have lost its power. This is told alongside Albertine’s story, a girl from the past who stumbles into Witchwood Hollow and only wants to escape. These stories play alongside each other and a development in one will only lead you to second guess where you think the other is headed, something which keeps you engrossed in the story, furiously re-guessing how the ending is going to turn out.
I will admit, at the beginning of the novel, I did not like Honoria – I found her frustrating and her characterisation a little confusing. It also came across as a little childish, but that could be due to the way I imagined the character to be. Albertine was a much more interesting character with, I felt, a bit more of a purpose. That being said, Honoria grew on me. Her interactions with other people really developed her character, as well as the book’s setting (with the exception of her interactions with the girls her age).
The witch is also a bit of a mystery. We never really find out the true circumstances of her ending up in the woods – the motive behind her actions leading to it. I also found her motivations for trapping people a little inconsistent with her character. She was not nearly as haunting or scary as the concept of Witchwood Hollow is.
This novel is set mostly in America, in the fictional town of Arnn. Both characters come to Arnn at an important point in their lives – one for marriage and one following the death of her parents – and so we see the town through very different perspectives. Unfortunately, I found that Arnn was lacking in any distinct feel. Particularly in Honoria’s chapters, it felt like it could have been any other town. Witchwood Hollow, on the other hand was beautifully described and you really get a sense of the mystical from it.
If you want a book that keeps you guessing with an ending filled with surprises, this is the book for you. The mysterious Witchwood Hollow dominates the book, reaching out and grasping hold of the main character’s lives, so much so you never know how they’ll manage to escape. 9/11 does play a prominent part of Honoria’s story line, which gives this fantasy novel a sharp taste of reality. Escape from Witchwood Hollow is a quick and entertaining read, despite it having its moments which did not quite work for me.