CAN LOVE REALLY BE FOUND WHEN YOU STOP LOOKING FOR IT…?
As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.
But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.
Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.
Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it… (Goodreads)
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Sammantha Wishaw, the main character of this book, Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow did just that. This is a brilliant start to the Hedgehog Hollows series, and I enjoyed this book tremendously.
Sam’s life has always been tough. She has never been on good terms with her Mum and she’s been subjected to derision and insults, or silent treatment. She has never been given warm, kind care from her own mother.
As if to say it wasn’t enough, the love of her life is marrying her cousin (of all people) to be her cousin-in-law if such a word ever exists. James felt “the spark” flying around the moment he laid his eyes on Chloe but never with Sam, how harder could things ever get – watching your love slips away from you. I can only imagine how agonising it must have been for Sam.
On the wedding day, however, things start to change. While running an errand for the newly-wed couple, she gets lost and peeks in a house to ask for direction. What she finds is an injured old man – who later becomes an integral part of her life, Thomas Mickleby.
Jessica Redland really knows how to tug at readers’ heartstrings and get their waterworks going. The beautiful story she weaves never fails to bring tears to my eyes, and this book is not an exception.
The friendship between Sam and Thomas was well-executed and portrayed with affection and gentleness, and seamlessly leads to the new chapter of Sam’s life, a new start to make her grow and shine.
I appreciated how Sam always comes out strong despite all the odds stacked against her.
Her friendship and trust with Chloe are broken and most of her relatives are turned against her except her Dad. Things cannot seem more dismal but the friendship she had formed with Rich, a paramedic who happened to be there she found Thomas supported her in every way. He and his partner offer a roof over her head after moving out of her childhood home, she effectively creates a family bonded by trust and friendship if not by blood.
The dream that Thomas and his Gwendoline entrusted with her also makes her stronger and more assertive. Sam might come across as a pushover especially in the early part of the story, you will see how strong-willed she actually is. She wouldn’t break just because of a few setbacks. She has the gumption to fight back.
So many emotions and themes are explored in this book thus you might assume it’s a bit emotionally taxing, but everything is handled and flowed in a very natural, organised manner and I got invested in Sam and the story, I could hardly put it down once I started reading it.
But I think I need to give you a heads-up; make sure to get your tissues or hankies ready! Jessica Redland will take you on quite an emotional roller-coaster ride and surely get your waterworks going! It’s been long since I last cried over a book – but those are beautiful tears (including a bit of sad ones, I must add). It was almost cathartic.
After everything Sam has gone through, I think the love she finally finds is totally deserving. Their romance develops at a rapid pace, but not at an eyeroll-inducing speed. I reckon ‘sparks’ might be the theme of this story as far as the romance is concerned, and the subsequent portrayals on how perfect they are for each other suffice to brush my niggle away. I was so happy for Sam to be happy at long last!
The ending was absolutely satisfactory and perfect to wrap up this stunning story of resilience, friendship, and romance. Yes, it’s a bit bittersweet to acknowledge some things would never change no matter how hard you might try, but this book tackles this issue without disguising it, and it makes this book more authentic.
The Hedgehog Hollow has quickly become a place I want to visit to relax, it’s a place with a gorgeous landscape surrounded by affectionate, genuinely kind people not to mention cute hedgehogs! Most importantly, a place where Thomas and Gwendoline’s dream has finally materialized.
Jessica Redland did it again, and I cannot wait to visit this happy, stunning place in the next book.
This is the third book in my 20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge.