REVIEW: 'New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow' by Jessica Redland
Updated: May 8, 2021
New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow picks up only weeks after where Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (previously reviewed here) left off, with Sam and boyfriend Josh running Hedgehog Hollow as a hedgehog rescue centre. The young couple seem set for perfect happiness—only Sam's family issues haven't quite been resolved, and Josh's are starting to rear their head. And that's to say nothing of some of the locals, who seem to have it out for the rescue centre!
What follows is the tale of a young couple trying to survive an awful lot of bombshells thrown their way. I was worried that Redland might split them up, given everything they're dealing with—but Sam and Josh really do band together. They always have each other's backs, even when it's hard, and call each other out when they're being obtuse or stubborn (gently, of course!).
I love Sam and Josh immensely, as well as the hedgehogs—and the brilliant, brilliant names they come up with for them—but oh good heavens, did I want to shake their family members sometimes. There is no love lost for Sam's mum here, and while I have sympathy for Josh's dad, I also can't look past the age gap between him and his girlfriend, and how young she was when they got together. Ultimately though, this is a story about forgiveness; about acceptance and being kind even when it maybe isn't deserved, simply because it's the right thing to do. Sam is honestly one of the most generous characters I've ever come across, and the fact that she manages to give so much to others while setting and maintaining boundaries to protect herself is truly impressive.
The presence of the late Thomas and Gwendoline from the first book really does carry through; Sam carries their memory with her every day, and it's such a lovely undercurrent to the story. It's a reminder that the people we love leave a lasting impact on our lives, which I think is a beautiful sentiment many of us can relate to.
Final verdict: Sweet, charming, and full of heart, New Arrivals is an easy read I would happily recommend to anyone. 🍯🍯🍯🍯🍯/5 honeypots!