Winterset Hollow, by Jonathan Edward Durham

literatigeek's review

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kimberlee's review

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First off, I have to say that I absolutely adored this book! The year isn't over yet, but I'm confident that this one will be making my Top 10 list. Yes, it's that good.

I want to suggest that, if at all possible, please do yourself a favor and start reading at page 1, without reading any sort of summary or book description first. I think you'll enjoy the story even more if you have no idea what's coming. The story's events were still a bit of a surprise, but I would have been full-on shocked and stunned if I hadn't read the description first.

Now, on to why I loved "Winterset Hollow" so much:

1. It's different. I read a lot of books, so when I come across one that really strikes me as something I haven't experienced before, I take notice. While this book has some familiar fantasy and magical realism elements, the direction and nature of the story itself is truly unique. When an author manages to surprise me like this, I'm always impressed.

2. The actual story is very good. If you haven't already read the description, I'll provide the spoiler-free version: A young man and his friends visit the island home of the author of a favorite book. Many things happen during this visit, and they will surprise even if you have read a more detailed summary. They will THRILL you if you go in blind.

3. The characters were very well-written. I felt like I really knew all of the major ones by the time the story ended. Eamon, the main character, is provided with an incredibly detailed psychological profile. Enough is shared about everyone else who matters to the plot that the reader understands each of them and their motivations. I felt so connected that I'd love to read a follow-up book (or even a short story) about what happened after the novel ended.

4. The writing itself was impressive! I don't just mean that the book was free of typos and grammatical errors. It was, but that is to be expected. I mean that the actual writing style was amazing. This book was beautifully written, with a lyrical quality evocative of Markus Zusak. Don't worry...the writing style never bogs down or takes away from the flow of the story in any way. It's just perfect!

Thank you, Jonathan Edward Durham, for writing such a fantastic book. This one will have a home in my permanent collection, and I eagerly await whatever you come up with next.

Five out of five chunks of my absolutely favorite sharp cheddar! 

elementarymydear's review

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 Winterset Hollow takes a very simple premise – what if your favourite book was real? - but gives it a dark and horrifying twist.

Our main charcter is Eamon, a young man with a troubled childhood who found solace in Winterset Hollow, a whimsical book about woodland creatures. He and his friends decide one year to go and visit the island where the book is set, see the author’s house, and celebrate ‘Barley Day’, the festival from the book. When they arrive, though, they find that the beloved characters they read about are very real, very dangerous, and hell-bent on vengeance.

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‘Book within a book’ is a difficult trope to get right, so I was really impressed that the author managed to pull it off so well. The ‘excerpts’ doted throughout really add to the feel of the book, and with just a few lines you can sense why this fictional book meant so much to people.

The opening few chapters of the book were really intriguing, drawing you in with a mysterious air. The ending was also very strong, with a nice twist that brings the main character full circle. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the middle of the book quite so much; while the action started with a bang, it became hard to keep that level of excitement up and was occasionally a little hard to follow. However, it did all build to a very satisfying climax – both in the plot and in the emotional journey of the characters. I was surprised by how moved I was in the final couple of chapters!

If you enjoyed books such as Wind in the Willows and Watership Down as a child, and have grown up with a penchant for horror, this will definitely be a good book for you!

Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy for review. 

higgy's review

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michereading's review

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inkishkingdoms's review

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Ever played the game where you are asked if you would live in your favorite book world and everybody says no when theirs is The Hunger Games? Well, I will say no to that question if you ask me about Winterset Hollow. However, I will so recommend this book to those that are looking for a quick disturbing read that will have you at your sit's edge. The novel starts sweet, and then turns dark very fast, to then move slowly at boat speed at a sea to then end with a bam! Simply outstanding, and I can't emphasize more that you should read this book!

blind_dog_books's review

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I loved this book so much more than I expected to and I’m so glad I agreed to read it. When emailing me Durham said ‘tone-wise it lives somewhere between the wonder of Roald Dahl’s more grounded works and the ‘things fall apart’ chaos of a good Michael Crichton thriller.  Oh, and there’s a liiiiitle Stephen King thrown in there for good measure, but just a pinch.’ and if you know me you know this ticks so many of my boxes when it comes to books. I jumped down the rabbit hole and just kept falling. I feel like even now weeks after finishing it I haven’t hit the bottom yet. 

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readeronamission's review

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