Jordan Elizabeth recently sent me a copy of her new YA fantasy novel Escape from Witchwood Hollow. So here we go.
The story starts off in 2001. Fifteen-year-old Honoria and her brother have moved from New York City to the farming community of Arnn. Honoria is especially fragile after having lost her parents in the 9/11 attacks, and finds the adjustment difficult. She does, however, meet a few girls at her new school who convince her to go into Witchwood Hollow, a wooded area rumored to be the home of a witch. Honoria accepts the dare and enters...
The story then shifts to other time periods. In the 1800s, Englishwoman Albertine Slack is summoned to Arnn by her father. But upon her arrival, she finds herself trapped in Witchwood Hollow. There, she meets other people who are unable to escape, and together they try to survive while searching for an exit.
Before that, though, we meet Lady Clifford who lives in that area in the 1600s. Having just committed murder, she is accused of being a witch and pursued by angry settlers. But she has mysterious powers on her side and is able to escape. Unfortunately for future citizens of that region, she doesn't want to be alone, and uses her powers to ensure that anyone who ventures into her realm will never be able to leave.
Back in the present, Honoria begins investigating Witchwood Hollow and tries to separate fact from legend. One myth states that if a person's ashes are scattered in the Hollow, they will be brought back to life. She latches onto the hope that she might be able to resurrect her parents, but is she just falling deeper into despair and delusion?
I liked Escape from Witchwood Hollow. It's refreshing to have a particularly vulnerable protagonist who may or may not be capable of achieving her goals. I sympathize with Honoria's plight and wanted her to succeed. Even the witch herself is a sympathetic figure (though I won't spoil any more). The story is also well-written (though there are a few typos and other errors), and the story is generally solid. Also, the ending is completely unexpected and keeps you guessing.
I can easily recommend Escape from Witchwood Hollow to those looking for a different type of YA story.