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 fulfil 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…
It’s lovely to read something new by Jessica Redland, and this book is a treat. Set in the stunning location of the Yorkshire Wolds – one of my favourite places – this novel has it all.
It’s the story of Samantha and her truly dysfunctional family. Her mother is seriously appalling and treats Sam with contempt. She’s always on the side of her sister and her sister’s beautiful daughter, Sam’s cousin, who used to be Sam’s best friend.
On the day of her cousin’s wedding, Sam is forced to admit that she’s still in love with her ex. Unfortunately, he’s the man her cousin has just married! Oh, that doesn’t go down well at all…
No one listens to Sam’s side of the story about anything, and if it wasn’t for her father I really don’t know how she’d cope. Luckily he’s a lovely man who adores his daughter, but his voice of reason is always drowned out by the spiteful outpourings of his wife.
Samantha’s life changes when she gets lost on the Wolds and stumbles across Hedgehog Hollow. There she meets Thomas, and that meeting is the catalyst for everything that follows. Thomas is a lonely widower, still grieving for the loss of his darling wife, Gwendoline. It was Gwendoline’s desire to turn Hedgehog Hollow into a hedgehog sanctuary, but she died before her dream could come true.
Thomas has lived alone for so long he’s almost forgotten how to talk to people, and he’s determined to keep Sam at arm’s length. Sam wonders what, exactly, she can do to get through to him.
This is such a lovely, heartwarming story. The relationship between Sam and Thomas is beautiful, and had me in tears at several points during my reading. I felt furious on Sam’s behalf over her treatment by her truly vile mother, and her hysterical over-the-top cousin. I also felt that various other members of Sam’s family were weak and let her down badly. I was so glad she had a father she could rely on and turn to, but I could well understand her friendship with Thomas. They are two lonely people who need each other, and it was lovely to see their relationship blossom and how that all played out – although it’s also very emotional, so be warned!
I’ve loved all of Jessica Redland’s books but this is definitely my favourite so far. I loved everything about it, and I really felt at home in the setting of the Wolds, even though I always liked Whitsborough Bay.
And it’s good to know that the second in the series, New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow, will be published in January. You can pre-order that here.