The Hollow Tree by James Brogden @TitanBooks #horror #mystery

36343656After losing her hand in a tragic accident, Rachel is plagued by vivid nightmares of a hollow tree, and a hand reaching from it, begging her for help.

Terrified that she is going mad, Rachel experiences phantom sensations of leaves, trees, and finally a hand that grasps hers and pulls a young woman into Rachel’s world. She has no idea of who she is, but Rachel can’t help but think of the local legend of Oak Mary, the corpse of a woman found hidden in a hollow tree, and who was never identified.

Three myths have grown up around the body; was she a spy, a prostitute or a murdered gypsy? Rachel is desperate to learn the truth, but darker forces are at work. For a rule has been broken, and Mary is in a world where she doesn’t belong…

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Publisher Paperback 400 Titan Books Horror March 13th, 2018

*Thank you, Titan Books for providing me a review copy of the book. This has not impacted my review.*

Let’s start with the most important- I really really really really really really really really – takes a breath– really really really really really really liked this book. Honestly? I took a chance on the book simply for the striking cover, and damn it, I wanted to find out who danced with Mary Oak before she died. I was not entirely prepared for the fullness this book presented to me.

The Hollow Tree is quite a dark read- it’s about solving the pasts’ grim mystery in a web of myths. Myths which essentially have come to life from the other side to fight for being named the truth. You see, the dark side has its own agenda and what living humans have created around this female body found in a trunk of a tree in word alone has gathered momentum and its own life. Sounds pretty darned ominous now, doesn’t it?

The good news for anyone that shies away from the ‘horror’ label is that it’s not one of those in your face types of horror. It’s more like a ‘let’s tell a really long, creepy story around the campfire’ kind of stories and my, does it have substance. I really like what the author did here with the body that was found in the tree and how the three myths played into the plot. It’s also really well written and delivered so that there is just the right amount of description and pace to keep the story hurtling along as it guides you deeper into the maze of questions, danger and possible endings…

Simply brilliant and seriously captivating!

The book starts off with introducing us to Rachel who tragically loses her hand in an accident and then starts having nightmares and delusions. For quite a while I was left on the edge of suspicion- is this stuff REALLY happening to her, or is she actually just having a serious ‘trip’ due to the meds she’s on following her accident. It does get quite ‘leave your logic of the real world behind the door’ pretty quickly but it only solidifies the fact that we are dealing with the otherworldly here.

I really do not want to give anything away here in terms of details to the story but as the blurb mentions- Rachel pulls things into the real world… from that other place… yikes!

After the first few pages I wasn’t sure I was going to like Rachel very much but throughout the book, she shows me who she really is. She’s determined and brave and so bloody sensible when it comes to pointing fingers of blame, especially when it comes to the accident she had. I mean, she doesn’t point the blame untowardly at all and I so respected her for that. Her relationship with her husband was thoroughly ‘couple goals’ and he was a really understanding chap. I was at some stages expecting him to turn out to be a real bastard, especially after Rachel’s accident, because authors are tricksters… But that was not the case and I was pleasantly surprised. So, in terms of characters- the whole cast of them- total win!

The three myths (the murdered gypsy; spy; prostitute) that have been weaved into this horror story get fully explained- their past lives, their personalities, their deaths. I felt for each of these women because essentially I was on a journey with all three during a time of war and I wasn’t sure I was prepared to find which one of these myths was the truth. Or how any of these myths was going to play out on Rachel’s quest for answers.

But a good book doesn’t leave you hanging in a puddle of questions and a labyrinth of confusion, and gives you something else to get excited about. And such it was, that Brodgen threw a right curveball into the mix to help tie off any questions, any answers to the question ‘Why?’. It was freaking delicious and as such the ending was super satisfying. As far as books go, this is a solid ‘pick it up and read it in as few sittings as you can’.

I just want to further make the point before I close off this review that I came to like Rachel a whole lot- what a show of personality, what a demonstration of a human with their heart in the right place. And ultimately, what a brave woman to answer to the darkness that calls out to her for help.

Even though this is an otherworldly horror novel (which only scares the lightweights! 😛 ), it’s also thoroughly entertaining and gripping! It’s multiple stories and lives within one story and one life. It’s solving a mystery, fighting with myths (literally) and as it reaches the final turn before the conclusion, it delivers the extra moment of ‘I see! That all makes sense now!’

The Hollow Tree on Goodreads | Amason UK | USA 

26 comments

  1. Oh my. What a great review! And what a great book this sounds like. I am thoroughly intrigued. I may have to add to my list so when my book buying ban is ov… oh dear, look at that, my hands slipped and I’ve bought it! XD

    Liked by 4 people

    • Awh, thank you Stark! 🙂 I was just thinking about you the other day, how it’s been quiet lately.. but then I caught up with things 😉 and I’m glad you’re still around the blogosphere! 🙂

      Yes, this has so much story!!! hahaha, and oops for making you break your book buying ban… didn’t realize my reviews could make someone’s resolve so weak 😀 bwahahaha… I do hope you enjoy it, though! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome cover…but did you like the book? I don’t think “I really really really really really really really really – takes a breath– really really really really really really liked this book.” is clear enough. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I was all heart-eyes over this cover, too, and I am happy to hear the inside is just as great! I don’t remember if I put this on my looks-interesting shelf or my to-read shelf on Goodreads, but it definitely needs to be on my to-read. I will have to check. Thanks for sharing your review. 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  4. hehe I take it you really liked this book 😉 I love that cover and it does sound intriguing! And yes please to dark myths! Glad it’s not straight up horror tbh. It really does sound well done and definitely want to check it out now! I love books that deal with otherworldly or uncanny elements. And yay for the good characterisation. Seriously wonderful review- you’ve really sold it to me!

    Liked by 2 people

    • oh, phewh, seems I got my point across about liking the book, hey?! 😀 hahaha…
      Yes, the cover is fantastic- that green just keeps grabbing the eyes like! a little horror story in itself 😀
      And yes, it has so much story- the otherworldly is definitely just an element and not overly done, nor the horror so it can be enjoyed by a large variety of readers so that’s cool!

      Thank you! ❤

      Like

    • Thank youuuu 🙂 hahaha, yeah it may actually give someone nightmares… granted it’s not a completely creepy novel though.. I mean, some thrillers have more graphic stuff in them, but yeah, some things can just be too much and never know what can trigger some of the trippy, scary dreams… eugh… I lately dream about work and IT support desk ticketing systems so I wonder if reading horror is my attempt at something ‘normal’ for the dreams 😀 hahahaha…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Have you ever heard of the Hagley Wood mystery just out of interest? The question of “Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?’? As soon as I started reading the synopsis, particularly the part about the body being found in the hollowed out tree, this was the first thing I thought about!
    ‘It’s more like a ‘let’s tell a really long, creepy story around the campfire’ kind of stories’ – this is the kind of horror I love! I love stories that are chilling and unnerving. I find they stay with you a lot longer than outright scary stories do!
    I have to confess and say I’ve just ordered this from Amazon now 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, now, funny you should mention it, because Hagley Wood mystery is actually the inspiration behind The Hollow Tree! 🙂 I could have mentioned it in my review, but honestly I found it such an interesting snippet of information at the end of the book that I didn’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone else!
      But, also, maybe I was just testing my UK blogging buddies to see if anyone drew the parallels 😀 hehehe…nah, just kidding.
      I think you’re really going to enjoy this book- it really does pull you in! I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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