Melissa Albert | Fiction 2018
Alice Crewe Proserpine is seventeen and lives with her mother Ella as nomads, moving from place to place around the country for all her life. She never understood why there was constant upheaval, and why she lived in studio apartments, or converted barns, or someone’s couch, or other unsavory places until one day, suddenly, her mom would move them on.
And then Alice’s grandmother Althea dies, who has lived in an old beat up mansion called Hazel Wood. Alice learns that Althea has a cult of fans who latched on to the one book Althea wrote. But the book, Tales from the Hinterland, is impossible to find. It is as though it is destroying itself. Alice has been searching for it for most of her young life.
One day Ella disappears, and Alice takes off to find Hazel Wood, the one place her mother told her never to go. The adventure begins, as Alice enters Hinterland, the dark fairy tale land.
I found Hazel Wood on a list from Book Riot. The list was “ten books you might enjoy if you loved The Night Circus.” Well, I loved The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) and I picked one that sounded like an enjoyable mix of reality and fantasy. I enjoyed Hazel Wood, though I didn’t fall in love with it. I particularly liked the first half, where the real world and the fantasy world were interspersed, and we traveled from one to the other. Around page 200, just over halfway in, Alice bridges the gap to the fairy tale world and we are there for most of the rest of the book, until the resolution at the end. I didn’t care for the Hinterland story quite as much as the juxtaposition of fantasy and reality as told in the first half.
You might like this, if occasional magic is your thing. Albert is a good writer. Her pace is quick and sharp. She has a predilection for metaphors that sometimes don’t make sense to me, but that is a small complaint.