Charles Hayden has been fascinated by a strange Victorian fairy tale, In the Night Woods, since he was a child. When his wife, Erin- a descendant of the author- inherits her ancestor’s house, the couple decide to make it their home. Still mourning the recent death of their daughter, they leave America behind, seeking a new beginning in the English countryside
But Hollow House, filled with secrets and surrounded by an ancient oak forest, is a place where the past seems very much alive. Isolated among the trees, Charles and Erin begin to feel themselves haunted- by echos of the stories in the house’s library by sighting of their daughter, and by something else, as old and dark as the forest around them.
I gave this book 1 lonely little star on Goodreads and that star was entirely due to the fairy tale within this book. I give no stars to the rest of the book. This may seem harsh but I promise that this was more than fair.
I bought this book as I fancied a spooky read featuring a forest and I was interested in the fairy tale elements of this book but this book grossly under delivered. This book had so much potential, which made it even more disappointing.
I seriously wonder if the author has ever visited England or even done a little research on England because the book read as if somebody had watched Downton Abbey and decided that that was enough research. I am not English, I’m Scottish but I have visited Yorkshire a lot. I have played roller derby in many sports halls within the Yorkshire area. The inaccuracies just annoyed me and took me completely out of the fantasy and I just could not enjoy the book. On more than one occasion, the main character drinks multiple pints of craft beer then drives home…way over the drink driving limit Charlie boy.
The biggest crime that this book committed was that it referred to Toad in the Hole as a game that was apparently played at Hollow House… I hope that game involves eating sausages within Yorkshire pudding.
If you aren’t from the UK, you could probably love this book. It was just too hard for me to believe the setting as there were so many errors. If the book were set in a non-disclosed location and Toad in the Hole wasn’t mentioned, it could maybe have earned a second star.
It was a struggle to believe that the book was set in the modern day as the dialogue with the staff at the house and in the village was very dated and unrealistic for me. The little hardware shop was like stepping through a time warp. This just didn’t work for me.
Charles was a terrible human being. Maybe he did purposely drink and drive? He was the only character that really got some development, his character became more and more awful. All of the other characters were very one dimensional, and similarly named, it was difficult to actually care about them.
The fairytale was really enjoyable though. I’d have read an entire book on that. I do think I’d try another book by this author based entirely on the fairy tale
Ultimately, I just was so disappointed by this book but it was also really not for me. I could have liked it if it was set in a different time and location and with different characters…so, if it were a different book