Bite-Sized Book Reviews: “The Hazel Wood”

A few posts ago, I wrote about my foray to Washington, D.C.’s East City Bookshop, and my happy surprise when I found that the book I’d purchased was a signed copy.

But that wasn’t the end of the surprises associated with Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood.

I didn’t know much about Albert’s novel prior to picking it up. But it came highly recommended by my friend/book guru Courtney. And I knew the story centered around a mysterious book (à  la The Shadow of the Wind, one of my all-time favorite novels for its book-within-a-book theme). Those twin enticements were good enough to compel me to grab The Hazel Wood.

And I’m 99% glad I took that step of faith. (I’ll circle back to that missing 1% shortly.)

The Hazel Wood follows Alice, granddaughter to Althea Proserpine, the reclusive author of a deeply dark collection of fairytales called Tales from the Hinterland. Alice and her mother Ella have spent years running from the bad luck ceaselessly snapping at their heels. But when Ella is snatched by figures claiming to be from the Hinterland, Alice’s luck goes from bad to bleak. Her search for her mother unleashes things that do far worse than go bump in the night.

Continue reading “Bite-Sized Book Reviews: “The Hazel Wood””
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Napoleon & the Grimm Brothers walk into a bar….

Note: Spoilers will be relegated to a “Spoiler Section” at the end of this review. Read the first half without fear.

Kate Forsyth’s The Wild Girl took me by surprise. Some books possess a singular kind of magic, catching you from the very first line. For me, The Wild Girl was not that book. Blame it on my being particularly distracted the day I began it; ascribe it to my being so busy, I could only read the first few chapters in five-minute increments (this is never a recipe for a well-enjoyed book)–whatever the reason, the novel’s first pages left me disengaged.

But somewhere along the way, a 180° occurred and The Wild Girl became one of those books I couldn’t stop thinking about. I was distracted at work (sorry, boss!) as I mulled over various plot-points. As I swam laps, I untangled my emotional responses to some of the more traumatic scenes. One day, I even delayed my own, jealously-guarded writing time to get a few pages further in Forsyth’s novel. The book even invaded my dreams. Continue reading “Napoleon & the Grimm Brothers walk into a bar….”