REVIEW: Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland
I've been waiting for the third instalment in the Hedgehog Hollow series ever since I finished New Arrivals, and as ever, Jessica Redland did not disappoint!
Last we left off, Sam and her new fiance Josh were sharing their home with Josh's dad, his partner, and their two young children, so already a full household! Only then Chloe, Sam's cousin with whom she's had a fairly fraught relationship of late shows up, baby Samuel in tow, loudly declaring that she's left her husband.
It's a bit of a mess, to say the least.
I certainly didn't expect to get such a deep dive into Chloe's history and headspace, but I'm so glad I did! She was a character I struggled to relate to in the previous two books, and I quite often didn't actually like her all that much. But Jessica did an amazing job of humanising her, and explaining why she behaves the way that she does without excusing her wrongdoings. I really felt for her and all that she'd been through, and I was so proud of her for making the right decision in the end.
Although this is very much Chloe's story, I also loved getting to see Sam start setting boundaries with the people around her. She really has grown so much from the girl we met all the way back in Finding Love, and I'm so proud of her. Jessica didn't shy away from showing how her experiences have affected Sam either, which I really appreciated. There's some lovely, honest conversations about trauma and therapy, which are handled so deftly and with such empathy and compassion that it warmed my heart.
As always, Jessica's cast of supporting characters is truly wonderful, and I loved the varied and engaging dynamics between them all. Getting to see a new side to Sam's mum was particularly lovely—I'm still not enamoured by the woman, but I'm glad that she warmed up a little, for Sam's sake.
And then there's the epilogue—let's just say that I can't wait for book four to come out next year!
Final verdict: A heartwarming, emotional tale of how every secret is easier to bear when you tell it, this absolutely captured my heart. 🍯🍯🍯🍯🍯/5 honeypots!