BOOK REVIEW: A WEDDING AT HEDGEHOG HOLLOW BY JESSICA REDLAND

It’s time for the wedding we’ve all been waiting for…

Life at Hedgehog Hollow is never dull, although Samantha hopes that the new year ahead will be a little less chaotic as she prepares to marry the love of her life, Josh. But disaster strikes when she checks the rescue centre’s bank account after the festive season and discovers it has been emptied. Who would do such a thing, and why? With the future of Hedgehog Hollow now in jeopardy, planning a wedding has lost its shine.

Phoebe is desperate to escape the shadow of her family, infamously known for their attacks on Samantha’s beloved rescue centre. Could the kindness of the Hedgehog Hollow team be the chance she needs for a fresh start, or will her family’s secrets continue to drag her back?

A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow: The BRAND NEW instalment in the wonderful Hedgehog  Hollow series from Jessica Redland for 2022 eBook : Redland, Jessica:  Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

What a fabulous way to start my 2022 – back at Hedgehog Hollow, with my favourite characters, awaiting the wedding of dreams! 

Jessica left us on one whopping cliffhanger in book three, in which a hefty sum of money had been taken from Samantha’s bank account and there was only one person that all fingers were pointing too. It was lovely to catch up with so many friendly faces and see how everybody was progressing and improving from the occurrences within book three. Samantha and Josh were on their way to walking down the aisle, Paul was in recovery, Beth and the children were well, Fizz was as pink and sparkly as ever, Chloe was growing to continuously become a better person and Samantha’s mum was slowly making more trips to reconcile with her daughter. Whilst we have grown so used to being surrounded by the most caring bunch of people, it was hard-hitting to be getting a more in-depth look in to the lives of the Grimes family, who had caused more trauma on Samantha than any person should have to endure, leading to her PTSD. Knowing what Samantha had gone through with the family, only seeing snippets when the damage was done, it was certainly interesting to be placed with a front row seat to their crimes and abusive behaviour this time round. 

We are formally introduced to two new characters; Phoebe and Darcie, who become wonderful additions to Hedgehog Hollow. However, that doesn’t come without a rollercoaster of tears, abuse, manipulation, neglect, etc. as the two girls unfortunately, belong to the Grimes family. We are briefly introduced to Phoebe in book three, who had become Samantha’s accountant and with Samantha’s bank account being wiped out, Phoebe becomes the biggest mystery of book four. Like Samantha, I never had any doubts that Phoebe had any doing in her family’s devious crimes, only hoping that there was an out for her at the end of it all. She was a kind-hearted and strong-willed eighteen-year-old, putting her life at risk to protect those she cared and loved deeply. There was some scenes throughout the book, happening in the past and present, that a reader may find disturbing, especially with it focusing strongly on abuse, so read with care and caution. That all being said, Jessica has always had a delicate and beautiful way with words, never leaving the reader to feel uncomfortable for too long and always giving us peace of mind that everything will be okay in the end. Jessica also wrote about Phoebe’s sexuality so effortlessly, when she was introduced to Fizz – it wasn’t forced in anyway and flowed with the story-line, as the two women formed a friendship that hopefully would last a lifetime. I absolutely adored Phoebe from the very second we got a chapter from her POV, she was a vulnerable victim to a horrific family, craving love and affection that she had once received from her late parents. The story sometimes resembled that of Cinderella and had many similarities, although ten times as difficult to read about and take in. Despite the negligence and abuse Phoebe had experienced, she still grew up to become a nurturing and sisterly role model to six-year-old, Darcie. Darcie was a darling little character, with such a huge heart and smile, which was surprising when you discover the life she had been living. Like Phoebe, she always managed to see the good in everything and never allowed her trauma to affect the way in which she saw the world – which was typically filled with unicorns, and now hedgehogs. All good things come to those who wait and these two girls had waited long enough for a miracle to arrive and that was of course, in the form of Samantha and Josh. Not forgetting to give Rosemary a deserving shoutout for never leaving Phoebe’s life and always giving her a place to call her home whenever she needed it. You will absolutely fall head over heels in love with Phoebe and Darcie, if you are smart enough to pick up this book, I don’t think it’s even possible to feel any other way. 

I always have to save a Samantha-swooning paragraph, as this woman is far too special and in each book, seems to go through so much for one person – I continuously admire her in every single way. It was incredibly endearing to see how fast Samantha forgot about the stolen money when she discovered the abuse Phoebe and Darcie were enduring at home, never hesitating about being there for them every step of the way. Samantha and Josh welcomed the two in to their homes like they were their daughters, making sure they were filled with as much love and affection as possible, making up for all those years without it. Whilst she was finally allowing and embracing her maternal side, she still had a lot to put at the forefront of her mind as well, leaving her to be one exhausted, yet inspiring woman. It absolutely helped that she had an incredible set of friends by her side and an extraordinarily supportive community; donating, contributing and volunteering when Samantha was in need. The most heartwarming parts of the Hedgehog Hollow series for me, are the ones between Samantha and her mum – it has been a work in progress from the very first book and I’m in awe at how much progress has actually been made. Throughout book four, the two ladies had become so much more open and intimate with one another, it constantly kept bringing a tear to my eye. I loved that from seeing Samantha receive counselling for her childhood and current PTSD, it had given her mum the encouragement to also relive and heal from the past that had forced her to become such an angry and bitter person. From an outside perspective, you may find yourself hoping that Samantha never forgives her mum for what she put her through, but as a reader of the books, and I’m sure many others will agree, it was lovely to see Samantha forgive her and put the past in the past. I personally, also thought it was time to forgive her and it was such a relief to see what looked like a never-ending battle, finally come to an end. I have so much love for Samantha, I honestly would protect her with my life if she was a real person and I can’t wait to see how married life is treating her in book five. I just desperately hope that our new cliffhanger doesn’t disturb and ruin all the progression that has been made between everyone! 

It was an absolute delight to be back within the gorgeous and scenic surroundings of Hedgehog Hollow, filled with strong personalities and heart-warming moments. A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow was a story of second chances and happy endings, but it definitely didn’t come without the drama still. What would Hedgehog Hollow be without the drama though? We’re one step closer to a happily ever after for all of our beloved characters and I’m begging Jessica to take it easy on us, we’ve gone through so much already! Roll on book five!

Shelby x

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1 Comment

  1. Jessica Redland
    January 6, 2022 / 4:21 pm

    Thank you so much for your review, Shelby. Delighted you loved this story so much. Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow will be out on 28th June xx

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