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, chess prodigy 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 . . .
There were moments reading this book when I honestly couldn’t put it down. When Elissa is abducted the tension was almost unbearable, and the idea that her mum was just a few metres away was devastating. This part of the novel is so well-written, truly tense. And Elissa herself is a fabulous character, absolutely lovely. She is terrified and young, but she shows a strength and intelligence that is refreshing to read – too often the ‘victims’ in these books are two-dimensional, whereas Elissa is so authentic.
Elijah was a little less convincing, in my opinion, and I do think the author relied a little too much on stereotypes when it came to him. That said, the twist is so well-done, and written very sympathetically.
Máiréad, the detective, is a great character too, human, relatable and, like Elissa, very authentically written.
In terms of plot, it did all come together, but there didn’t seem to be a clear reason for the abductions.
So just a couple of niggles, but overall, a chilling and compelling read.