Today I’m sharing my thoughts on The Memory Wood, it’s the debut novel from Sam Lloyd, but first here’s the book description.
Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.
Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.
When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.
Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.
As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .
When I read a book it normally falls into two categories, books I’ve really enjoyed, and then there’s the rare gem, it’s a book that finds its way into my my heart, a book that lingers in my thoughts long after I’ve reached the last page, a book that evokes many emotions, The Memory Wood is one such book. The debut novel from Sam Lloyd is a book that I would describe as ‘creepily atmospheric, unforgettable, a horrifying account of child abduction. Beautifully told, the author has written a book that reads like the darkest fairytale, where monsters roam the woods, and evil lurks. This isn’t your ‘run of the mill’ child abduction story by any means there’s so much more to the plot than you can ever imagine.
The story is mostly told from three perspectives, Elissa an abducted 13 year old, who finds herself shackled, abused, neglected and held captive in the ‘gingerbread house’ a deserted cottage in the woods. Elijah, a boy who finds Elissa in the cellar, he’s her only hope for survival, but is he trustworthy, or is there something far more sinister at play? Then there’s Mairead a detective, whose determined to bring Elissa home, but to what cost? The characters are so well drawn they leap from the pages. The relationship between Elissa and Elijah captivated me, on one hand you have Elissa brave, defiant, clever and resourceful and then you have Elijah, who appears immature, and naive, their friendship is one built on mistrust and deception.
The authors vivid descriptors bring the The Memory Wood and the gingerbread house to life, creating an atmosphere that’s both sinister and ominous. I swear I could smell the damp cloying earth, feel the dark and the cold, and sense the evil and dark aura that surrounds her abductor. At first I made assumptions about Elissa’s captor, but any such thoughts were soon turned on there head, as the author deftly reveals more details, each turn is more twisted, and shocking in its delivery. I expected The Memory Wood to be a disturbing read, after all the plot is based on a child’s abduction, what I wasn’t expecting was a read that was harrowing, and ultimately heartbreaking, I must admit I finished this book with a lump the size of a golf ball in my throat. Sam Lloyd has written a book that’s compelling, and one of the most original books I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommended.
And yes in case you hadn’t already guessed I’m giving The Memory Wood my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Bantam Press (20 Feb. 2020)
Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧
Please note this book was bought by myself, and not given to me by the publishers.