Escape from Witchwood Hollow is a Young Adult fantasy book centering around Honoria, a fifteen-year-old girl who lost her parents in the 9/11 attacks. She finds herself in Arnn, NY, in a new school, living with her aunt and uncle. Honoria experiences all the problems that the new kid, who is a bit different, would experience. She is also introduced to Witchwood Hollow where local legends tell of a witch who traps people in the woods. Honoria shares the story with Lady Elizabeth Clifford from the seventeenth century and Albertine from the mid-nineteenth century.
I never had a “young adult” reading period in my life, so I generally veer away from the genre. In fourth grade, I read Solzhenitsyn and was introduced to Philip Larkin. A year later I was reading Stephen King, Gary Brandner, J.G. Ballard, The Omen, and The Exorcist. So as a middle-aged adult when I was offered Witchwood Hollow from the author, I thought it over for a while and hesitantly accepted.
Any hesitation I felt quickly passed after the first few pages. The descriptions seemed a little much when I started, and I played it off as the younger folk needing more descriptions to keep their attention. This feeling quickly passed after a few pages, and I found myself involved in a really interesting story. The hollow itself is very well thought out place, and although it is written as fantasy, it does not seem too far of a stretch from quantum theory. Yes, it is a stretch but easily within the reader’s willing suspension of disbelief. It is the hollow that ties everything together for the three main characters and their time periods. Very well done and original thinking.
The characters are well done, and the reader will care about their well-being throughout the book. Their stories intertwine nicely bringing everything together. The time periods are well described without any noticeable anachronisms. The main characters are interesting and contribute useful information to the reader. Their stories are detailed enough to stand on their own but are not overbearing. The three women share the limelight equally. The supporting characters are well developed and act as expected in their roles. The dialog is excellent and lacks the forced conversations and over explanations seen in many newer books from smaller publishers. I was pleasantly surprised by the entire book and read it in a single sitting. Mierek writes a class act book. Watch for her in the near future. With her displayed style, insight, and skill, she will be making her mark in the fantasy genre. Five stars for Young Adult Fantasy writing.