The setting of The Hazel Wood was creepy and beautiful – part of the story was set in the city and part in a forest. I started reading this on a camping trip which might have been a mistake. It all worked out since there weren’t any nightmares for the whole trip. Alice did not have the same experience.
Alice is the granddaughter of a famous reclusive author, Althea Prosperpine. Alice’s mother, Ella, leaves The Hazel Wood and doesn’t plan to return. Alice and Ella live a vagabond life. They stay in one place until their bad luck catches up with them.
Her mother was kidnapped by the characters from the Hinterland – not the television series. The word Hinterland means “the land behind.” It is also the fictional setting of Althea’s Gothic fairy tales. So the whole situation of traveling to her grandmother’s estate called,The Hazel Wood, was like living in a nightmare. When she made it to The Hazel Wood, everything got even more weird.
There were a few fairy tale characters from Althea’s book that Alice met while in the Hinterland. I thought Twice-Killed Katherine was interesting. Ruthless and sneaky. You probably wouldn’t want her to corner you anywhere. She’s vicious. I mean, her name is Twice-Killed Katherine, she probably has issues.
The fairy tale character’s stories replayed over and over. If they could figure out how to change the story, would they be able to escape? I think Twice-Killed Katherine would look like this.
The time that Alice spent in the Hinterland and The Hazel Wood was similar to a vision quest. She travels there with her friend, Ellery, who knows the fairy tales. They get separated and Alice has to finish the journey alone. If she could figure out the secret then she could get out but it’s not that simple.
The Hazel Wood is one of the best books that I’ve ever read. I found it at a thrift store. Someone didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. Lucky for me. There is a sequel, The Night Country. It’s supposed to be released in January – just in time to spend my Christmas gift money.
If you are easily scared or creeped out, then you might not like this book. If you aren’t a fan of Wednesday Addams, Edgar Allan Poe or gothic fiction, then this is not the book for you.
I don’t think I’ve ever given a book 5 stars but I’d make an exception for The Hazel Wood.