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on 13 March 2011
I really enjoyed this book...it left me wanting to know what happens next to the characters...always a good sign. I did feel, as another reviewer mentioned, that there could have been more information about the elves...I felt I wanted to know more about them, especially about Connor's father and their relationships with humans. But all in all a good read...from when I started it, I didn't want to put it down....I look forward to there being a sequel.
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on 9 March 2011
I enjoyed this book from the start.
Downtrodden woman and her son rebuilding their lives, with danger, intrigue, fantasy and the hope of romance thrown in - good stuff!
Izzy's letter to her Mother didn't sit right for me and there were some things that I didn't feel were followed through but I'm hoping this means there will be more in store for these characters in future books.
Would I recommend it? Definitely!
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on 9 March 2011
Izzy and her son, Connor, are the characters driving the story and the realistic development of these characters in particular makes a fine counterpoint to the fantasy elements as they appear. The spooky wood of the title may also be considered a viable character, such is its influence on the plot.
There's much to commend here. The author allows herself free rein in the outpourings of a formidable imagination. This is more than a light, airy fantasy peopled by elves. There are real issues: domestic violence, a stalking abuser, all rooted very strongly in reality. If you enjoy a melange of stark realism, Izzy and her pursuing husband, interspersed with fantasy elements, you'll love Coombe's Wood.
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on 8 March 2011
I did quite enjoy this book as the writing style was fluid, engaging and moved along at a decent pace. However, the problem I had with it is that the elves seemed to exist merely as a device to move the plot along. There was very little information or background given about them, even after the revelation that they were connected to Izzy and her family, and they only popped up to get her out of trouble or, apropos of nothing, teach her some elven tricks which, surprise surprise, happened to come in oh so very handy at the climax of the novel. Even the "secret" of the woods itself was not really explored in any detail and I felt was used, for the most part, to achieve the end result. I apologise if this sounds vague but I don't want to include any spoilers. Feathers, I thought, was an odd character. I kept expecting him to turn sinister - which may have been more interesting - but he ended up being rather bland and purposeless.

Despite all this, as I said, it's a decent enough read so many may enjoy it.
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on 28 April 2012
once I read the word elves I thought oh no this will be rubbish but its not its suprisingly good and the elf parts in the book are good. Theres a monster in the woods this reminded me of the hound of the baskerviles and the elves look like ordinary people, but mainly its about a woman who moves house to escape being stalked by her violent ex but guess what.........he finds her.
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on 30 January 2011
After seeing this novel advertised on many Indie threads, I really enjoyed it. I took the characters to my heart and was sorry when it was over. I'm not going to describe the story and content here as I think reviews that do that take something away from the excitement of discovery in a new download. Just to say, well done, Lisa. For anyone looking for a great read, this was not only that, but an absolute bargain and I look forward to your next work. Cheers, Pam. :-)
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on 29 March 2013
I downloaded this as a freebie the other night and read it in one sitting. I have to admit I skim-read some of it and skipped parts because I wanted to get to the end and find out the answers to various questions.

It is the first book the author published and there are a few creaky bits which hint at a first book - but I have read first books by other super-famous and lauded authors such as Strata by Terry Pratchett and some last books by bestselling genre icons such as Ash by James Herbert which are real stinkers and Coombe's Wood is head and shoulders a better read than those books.

I found the story kept me interested and it was an easy enjoyable read. It was interesting enough that I forgot my editor's hat and became a reader again - this is something I have been struggling with for a year or so - and Coombe's Wood managed it for me.

I read it on my Kindle Fire ( Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - With Special Offers ) and it is the first book I've read on it since having it for Xmas as usually when I start reading I get distracted and head off to watch a tv program or listen to the radio on the gadget. So again plus points to Coombe's Wood for holding my attention right up to the end. I always skim read a book the first pass through so that isn't a mark against it either.

I'm looking forward to reading it at a more leisurely pace next time. I will save it for the summer - I can imagine this will be a good beach read.
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on 20 March 2011
This is a difficult book to categorise; vividly realistic in the depiction of single motherhood, fear of an abusive partner, mistrust of everyone and adjustment to new circumstances seems to indicate a domestic thriller. Yet the elements of unreality; the elves, the monster in the woods, the ability to fast-walk lift this into a different category.

The strange little village of gossip and cats is perfectly drawn so that we, like Izzy, cannot decide if it's charming or sinister. And the wood has a personality, and a history, all its own.
The book unsettled me and gave me goosebumps. I read it in one sitting. Not only did I have to know what happened next, but I also wanted to discover whether the world really was as it seemed to be through our narrator's eyes. I kept wondering, and still am, how reliable a narrator Izzy - a damaged individual - truly is. How much of her story is true and how much her imagination?

My only quibble is that the author could have gone further and deeper with some of the themes. Elements in Izzy's letters to friends and parents and her own irrational decisions show an unstable personality, but that is never fully explored. This is a powerful and exciting book but seemed to end very abruptly with some questions left unanswered.

Perhaps there is a sequel to come.
I hope so. Hinsley can certainly spin a yarn and I'll be watching out for more.
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on 23 November 2010
The book starts innocently enough. Fleeing an abusive relationship, Izzy seeks to move from a shelter to a home with her son Connor. But eerie elements are quickly introduced and the reader knows this is no ordinary story. First they find mysterious writing behind the wallpaper in Connor's new room. Then villagers warn them to stay out of nearby Coombe's Wood. Izzy and Connor make friends and Izzy finds work. The telling of the ordinary day to day of their activities makes a good contrast with the creepiness of the environment and the events that soon begin. Izzy learns why she should stay out of the woods, but she's not sure whether to believe the locals. Then George, her ex, finds her and the stalking begins. George is a psychopath and Izzy is in fear for her life. At the end of the story, however, she finds a way to deal with George.

Coombe's Wood is hard to put down once you start reading. Author Lisa Hinsley has skillfully woven the mystery of Izzy's past with the supernatural elements of Coombe's Wood to create a gripping read.
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on 4 March 2013
Having previously read, and been impressed by, 'Plague' by the same author, I was keen to try her other works. I thought that this story showed a lot of promise at the outset with the main character's back story of being a victim of domestic abuse providing one plot thread and the rather mysterious Coombe's Wood and its inhabitants providing the other. However, this early promise wasn't totally fulfilled in my opinion with Izzy never fully becoming a totally believable character due to some of the illogical decisions she made such as wandering around alone in environments she knew to be dangerous and never appearing very interested in protecting her son throughout it all. The ending was also a bit predictable but I nevertheless finished the book and thought that it was ok for a bit of light, escapist reading.
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