Publication Date: 14 April 2022
Cassie Morgan has run away. After seven years spent waiting for her mother to return, she flees her dreary boarding school and sets out to find her. But the world outside her school is full of hidden magic and children have been going missing.
With the help of a talking cat and a flying broom, Cassie escapes to the enchanted village of Hedgely. There she will begin her training in the practical skills of witchcraft with the Hedgewitch, who watches over the Hedge, the vast forest that marks the border between England and Faerie.
Utterly charming and brimming with fun and friendship, this is the kind of magical adventure I would have devoured as a child.
From the moment we see the map that opens the story, we are transported to a world where magic and faery folk exist beyond the bounds of Cassie’s favourite book.
I adored Hedgely which felt like a rural retreat, albeit one to venture into with knowledgeable friends who understand the risks hiding in the natural world. Skye has created a world that is both fresh and nostalgic with it’s array of shops, village carnivals and sense of community. I would love to visit Widdershins and Marchpanes! The nostalgic edge is also captured beautifully in Tomislav’s stunning black and white illustrations.
The Hedge, however, felt dark and dangerous whenever stepping away from it’s edges, with an arrary of magical folk hidden within it’s branches. Glamours and wards, goblins and wisps all clamour to trap visitors within it’s depths.
Cassie is a great character. When we first meet her, she is alone in every sense, yet still finds the courage to escape the hand that fate has dealt her. Her arrival at Hartwood Hall does little to alleviate her loneliness when her Aunt offers little warmth or support. I loved watching her friendship with Rue blossom, and her ability to stand her ground and accept Tabitha in a way that Rue wouldn’t.
Beneath the story were two messages that resonated. Firstly, it is the expectations we put on ourselves and the fears and anxieties that grow from them that can become our biggest hurdles in life. The second was that one test does not fit all. To struggle with something that is expected of you does not make you unworthy. Heart, determination and courage, and knowing when to ask for help more than make up for lack of aptitude at a particular skill when you are still learning.
This feels like slipping on your pjs, and is a gentle read with just enough darkness to set your hairs on edge. The first the series, I can’t wait to see what happens next in Cassie’s adventure.
Great for fans of:
- The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol
- Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend
- The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery
Huge thanks to Welbeck Flame for sending me an early review copy and inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Do make sure you check out all of the other stops.