I was stopped in my tracks by ‘Wolf Hollow’ by Lauren Wolk. So often a blurb will suggest the reader will ‘laugh uproariously’ or be greeted by ‘the new Harry Potter’, or, as in the case of ‘Wolf Hollow’, experience a book similar to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’
‘Wolf Hollow’ is the exception to my rule of never believing the blurb entirely, for its similarity to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in its sensibilities, is valid. This is a book that holds your heart and made me, a reader wallowing in strange times, feel renewed and reinvigorated.
When I’ve really loved a title, I feel anxious when I prepare to read the author’s next work. ‘Beyond the Bright Sea’ (Dutton) is an entirely different book, but it has Lauren Wolk’s subtle, spare approach. I sensed real value in the way she builds and directs her characters. It has taken me longer to ‘get into it’ but then this is a different kind of book. To some degree I think the isolated setting is reflected in the way I felt a need to take time and care in my approach.
Crow, an orphan discovered as a newborn baby in a skiff in the Elizabeths, islands off the coast of Massachusetts, is raised by Osh, who has escaped his past, and Miss Maggie, a neighbouring pioneer type farmer. They are entirely isolated, yet co-dependent on each other. When Crow begins to question her origins, the world threatens to intrude on their peaceful existence.
Lauren Wolk took a lot of time to be discovered by her readers. I suggest we have a writing star in our midst. I am delighted to have found her around the same time as initiating Bookwagon. Her press tell us than in addition to the two books we’ve come to know her by, her family, and a 60- hour a week college arts’ role, she is writing a third children’s book, this time set in Arizona. There is no trepidation for me this time; I cannot wait for its release!