What’s it about?
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels.
But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get.
Her mother is stolen, by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world from her grandmother’s stories.
Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.
To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .
This was very out of my comfort zone but I’d seen lots of positive reviews so requested an ARC and was delighted to be approved. I was looking forward to trying something different but also somewhat wary that I might not like it as I do struggle with magical realism.
I really enjoyed the first half of this book when we’re introduced to Alice and Ella’s lifestyles and when Finch comes onto the scene, I liked his and Alice’s unusual relationship, although I don’t quite understand why she was so horrid to him a lot of the time, however, I particularly liked their hunt for the rare book Tales of the Hinterland (would have liked more of this) and their road trip scenes. I also enjoyed the short stories of Tales of the Hinterland that were incorporated into the main story – these little bites were probably enough of a fairy tale for me to be honest. I started to struggle when Alice found The Hazel Wood, the Hinterland and the events that followed. That whole magical realism, I think I try too hard to rationalise it all rather than take it for what is: I didn’t get it, got confused and lost interest.