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A little forgiveness can go a long way…

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow is out now!



This week I’m celebrating the publication of the third book in the Hedgehog Hollow series, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow. Set in a fictional hedgehog rescue centre in the Yorkshire Wolds, I’ve been thrilled at how readers have taken the characters – human and spiky – into their hearts.

The series follows Samantha Wishaw who unexpectedly becomes the owner of a farm called Hedgehog Hollow on the proviso that she fulfils the previous owner’s dream of running the farm as a hedgehog rescue centre. Along the way, she meets new friends, finds love, and faces up to some challenging family relationships.

A central theme throughout the series is forgiveness and this is particularly prominent in the second book – New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – when Samantha’s boyfriend Josh has to decide whether he can he forgive his estranged father.

I’m sure most of us have been in a situation where we need to decide whether to forgive someone. It could be a partner, friend, colleague or family member. They may have done something relatively minor right through to something gargantuan that, ultimately, may not be forgivable.

We often hear the phrase ‘forgive and forget’ and it’s really important to remember that forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting about the hurt/pain caused. To forgive is “to stop being angry about or resenting somebody or somebody’s behaviour” (Encarta Concise English Dictionary). It is therefore an internal decision where the individual chooses to let go of the anger. This may involve expressing forgiveness to the person who has wronged them or it might mean letting go/walking away/moving on and simply letting go of the anger and resentment within themselves. I explore both in the series.

The theme of forgiveness continues in Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow and there are still characters whose behaviour may or may not be forgiven and, if forgiven, may or may not be forgotten. But a big focus is on forgiveness of oneself.

Samantha continues to be a central character but we find out more about her cousin Chloe. Chloe is not a reader favourite. She’s spoilt and selfish and hurts Samantha badly in the first two books but they’re trying to find a way forward with their relationship as, despite everything, Chloe is capable of being a good friend and Samantha is a kind person who looks for the positives in everyone.

In Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow, we discover some secrets (as you can probably guess from the title) which help explain why Chloe’s the way she is. The revelations shock everyone and cause more conflict and upset in the family. There are several forgiveness scenarios but the biggest question is: Can Chloe forgive herself for what happened in the past?

It can be so much harder to forgive yourself than to forgive others. The thing we’ve said or done (or not said/done) can eat away at us… if we let it. Remember that definition from earlier? It applies to forgiving yourself: stopping being angry about your behaviour and letting go. It might not be easy but it’s essential to move forward. Nobody’s perfect and making mistakes is what makes us human.

I was looking online at various quotes about forgiving yourself and I love this one: Your past mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you. I think that’s very appropriate for Chloe. Will she be able to forgive herself or will she let the past define her and her future? You’ll just have to read Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow to find out.

Big hedge-hugs

Jessica xx


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