Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Release date – 30th January 2018
The Hazel Wood is completely captivating. Sometimes you start a book and it can take a good 20% of the book to start to get into the story and the characters, but that definitely isn’t the case here. The thing is, I should have been bored at the beginning. There was a lot of information being dumped onto us, setting the scene and giving us a backstory for Alice and her mother, Ella…but I was completely riveted. Melissa’s writing is truly incredible. There was not a single point of this book where I was bored, and this isn’t an action packed and fast paced book.
Alice is our narrator; she’s seventeen years old and has spent her entire childhood moving – running – to different places, never settling in one place for a large amount of time.
Alice’s grandmother is the renowned writer of a book of fairy tales in world called the Hinterland. Alice has never met her famous grandmother, or been allowed to read her work, but has always fantasised about her coming to whisk Alice away to her exclusive estate, the Hazel Wood. But when one day Alice comes home from school to find her mother missing and a passage from one of her grandmother’s stories lying in her bed, Alice teams up with a fan of her grandmother’s, Finch, in the search for her mother.
The Hazel Wood is less of a Disney fairy tale, and more of a Grimm fairy tale; it’s dark. And Alice isn’t an easy character to love; she’s dark and cynical and has a lot of anger issues. At the beginning of the book, I was sure that I wasn’t going to like her, but she definitely grew on me. Because while she is dark and cynical and angry, she’s also devoted to her mother; and when she loses her, she’s lost. Her mother is Alice’s anchor, the only thing she can rely on when they’re running around the country. She’s definitely no Snow White or Sleeping Beauty, but I loved her all the same, and the ending was at the same time perfect for Alice and heartbreaking.
Finch is…I liked him, I did. He didn’t blow my socks off, mainly because I spent the majority of the book being deeply mistrustful of him, but I did like him.
I’m so pleased I was able to read this book, I totally loved it. It won’t be for everyone; it’s dark and whimsical and there were times where I was second guessing everything and everyone, but I loved it all.
*thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read this book*