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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.