Winterset Hollow

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
326 Pages
Reviewed on 09/30/2021
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Author Biography

Jonathan Edward Durham was born near Philadelphia in one of many satellite rust-belt communities where he read voraciously throughout his youth. After attending William & Mary, where he received a degree in neuroscience, Jonathan waded into the professional world before deciding he was better suited for more artistic pursuits. He now lives in California where he writes to bring a unique voice to the space between the timeless wonder of his favorite childhood stories and the pop sensibilities of his adolescent literary indulgences.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Winterset Hollow is a work of fiction in the urban fantasy sub-genre, penned by author Jonathan Edward Durham. The book is generally suited to mature readers owing to the presence of scenes of violence and the use of explicit language occasionally during the story. Combining elements of literary drama with thriller, fantasy, and childhood fairy tales, Winterset Hollow takes place on the seemingly charming Addington Isle. A group of friends visit the idyllic setting of their favorite book, only to find that truth is often stranger – and deadlier – than fiction could ever predict. What results is a fast-paced chase as the protagonists run for their lives on the dreaded Barley Day, but who will survive?

Author Jonathan Edward Durham has crafted a masterful work of fiction that transcends all its many sub-genres to become a monster of its own making. Compelling like a Stephen King thriller, but with all the disturbing emotional complexities of Lord of the Flies, Winterset Hollow is a must-read for anyone looking to be chilled to the bone. I found the fantasy elements of the tale chillingly realistic, not least because of the way Durham creates believable, diverse characters whose emotions are viscerally portrayed. The dialogue was also an enormous boon to the story, allowing us to read the central characters' fears and desires between the lines and lining up some truly shocking twists with precision. Overall, I would certainly recommend Winterset Hollow to fans of deeply layered plots, high-quality writing, and dark urban fantasy with horror and thriller undertones.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

Remember your most favorite book from childhood, the one that transformed you? Wouldn’t you like to explore the place where the story was conceived? Eamon, Caroline, and Mark could hardly pass up the opportunity to visit Addington Island, made famous by E.B. Addington, the author of the popular children’s book Winterset Hollow. Imagine their surprise and awe upon realizing that the faraway island housed the characters of the book, too! The ever-curious Runnymeade rabbit, the cunning Phineas fox, and the enormous Binghamton bear were real, as was the sumptuous Barley Day feast cooked by the talented Flackwell frog. They had no reason to suspect the carefully hidden, harsh, and bitter truth until it was too late for them. What happened to Eamon and his group on Barley Day? To find out, you have to read Winterset Hollow by Jonathan Edward Durham.

Durham’s use of unusual, formal words gave this book a unique, almost regal feel. From the very beginning, something seemed awry, even though I couldn’t pinpoint what it might be. A vague sense of foreboding, a hint of some impending calamity, seemed to haunt me. When all hell broke loose and a bloodbath ensued, I could hardly peel myself away from the pages. Jonathan Edward Durham made the action scenes linger, continuing until I felt I was stuck in a long and unending nightmare along with the characters. Using a plot full of clever ploys, revenge, and betrayal, Winterset Hollow conveys some vital messages about the bloodthirsty nature of humans. This book makes you root for the protagonists, and you’ll find yourself praying for their survival, but you cannot help but sympathize with the antagonists, too. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves horror, providing they do not mind a little gore.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Winterset Hollow by Jonathan Edward Durham is a fantasy tale. Have you ever read a book that was so good you wished it was real? Found characters you would love to meet? We all have, but it could be a dangerous thing to wish for. A group of friends travels to the place their favorite book was inspired by, a tale of animals working toward their yearly festival at the end of the summer. But things don’t go according to how they thought the plan should be, and fiction is turning out to be far more like fact than it should be. The truth behind the story they love so much is dark; it’s dangerous and could cost them their lives. It’s Barley Day, and you’ve been invited. Now run.

Winterset Hollow by Jonathan Edward Durham is pure genius. A magical story that turns into a dark, terrifying reality with plenty of twists and turns, thrills and spills along the way. It’s more than just a wish for a story to be true. It’s a fairytale gone horribly wrong, a story that reveals the truth behind another story, so much worse than you could ever imagine. The characters are a wild bunch, developed into rounded characters that you can relate to and identify with, even the animals, with very creative backstories. The plot is unique, quite intricate, so you will need your wits about you to keep up with it. With such descriptive writing, the author takes you deep into the story and allows you to live it for yourself and experience a journey of self-discovery. Thought-provoking, sometimes terrifying, this is an incredible effort for a first book. Lose yourself in any book you like but be careful about wishing you were in the story – the truth behind it might just terrify you.