On The Cover: 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?
Published: October 2014
Why I Chose It: I received a free digital copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
This book initially intrigued me with the idea of a witch’s legend and the missing children. Mierek’s novel features three women from three different time periods (1600s, 1800s, and 2001) and their stories intertwine around the legend of the witch. I absolutely loved how these stories overlapped, and how Mierek was able to bring together these three women across time by connecting their stories so well.
The one thing I really appreciate about Mierek’s novel is that it kept me interested. I was very curious to see what would happen to each of the three women, and how their stories would connect. There was enough mystery in each of the story lines to keep pushing me forward, and they remained really well balanced against one another. I was never rushing through one character’s chapter to get to another; I was genuinely curious about each one.
Unfortunately there was one very large obstacle that kept me from loving this novel, and that was how disconnected I felt from the characters. While I was curious about their stories, I was never emotionally connected to any of them. I found that the characters showed very little emotion, and what little emotion that was conveyed seemed almost disingenuous. I really wish I could have liked the characters more, but I just couldn’t get invested in them emotionally.
This is one of those stories that is tough to review. I genuinely liked the historical aspect of the story, the connections between the characters, and how the story itself was told. Yet I struggled so much with the characters and trying to become emotionally engaged with the story that I was a little bit put off. Still, this might be worth checking out if you’re a young adult interested in fantasy with multiple time periods.
Rating: 3 / 5
Creativity/Story Telling: 4 / 5
Interest Level: 4 / 5
Character Development: 1 / 5
Emotional Investment: 1 / 5
“Honoria paused beside an apple tree. In the dark, the bark looked like a continuous roll of black velvet wrapped around a thick pole. When she touched it, the roughness snagged her fingertips. Stepping back, a rotten apple squashed beneath her foot. Wonderful, she would have to clean it off her sneakers later. Maybe she should take it back for her aunt’s basket.” p 39
” “Maybe we don’t see her because she fell in a hole?” Lady Clifford snickered at her brother-in-law’s question. Did the pompous fool really believe the wilderness was scattered with giant holes ready to swallow fleeing virgins? She pictured him in his slashed-sleeve doublet, catching the silk in branches while he waddled through the underbrush like a peacock in a swamp. A giggle caught in her throat.” p 22
“Albertine paused along the roadside. To her right stretched a hayfield, the weeds swaying like ocean waves. Wildflowers poked their heads through the brown and green stalks. To her left lay a hill dotted with oak trees. The green leaves shifted to shades of crimson and gold, the wind making the branches creak. […] This picturesque heaven had become her new home. A grin stretched her lips so wide the corners stung. Soon the fields belonging to her father and husband would become hers. She could run through the hay, laughing, with no one to tell her no, or force her to work, or clean up after a drunken night. Her sister would join her and they would climb trees. Yes, they would climb them as if they were boys. Albertine had never craved boyish pursuits, but the long, thick branches beckoned her into their golden cocoon.” p 53