Prickly Company by Kitty Johnson – Book Review

Prickly Company by Kitty Johnson – Book Review

Prickly Company Kitty Johnson

Prickly Company

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Frances Mathews doesn’t get out much since her husband died, but that doesn’t stop her from jump-starting a campaign to create a hedgehog highway in Hilltop Place—feeding stations, holes at the bottoms of gates and fences, and wild garden areas for hibernation. To Frances’s delight, her neighbours are on board. Mostly.

There are Jess and Michael, whose marriage is cracking under the unanticipated strain of a recent adoption. And Ryan, a wounded war reporter struggling to connect with his son after a divorce and forced to return to an exasperating parental fold. Plus, a very forthright single mum new to the neighbourhood and an exceedingly proper couple not about to upend their picture-perfect garden for prickly nuisances.

As relationships—from the romantic to the nerve-racking—form and secrets are unearthed, Hilltop Place is threatened in ways that affect them all…unaware hedgehogs included. What Frances and her charitable neighbours soon discover about themselves and each other is hardly what any of them expected.

Review by Stacey

Prickly Company reads very much like a British Soap Opera. For those old enough to remember Brookside, this gave me vibes of the iconic Liverpool street.

Situated in the residential cul-de-sac of Hilltop Place the book intricately explores the lives of the five households and their many dramas. Uniquely, the narrative also includes perspectives from hedgehogs which adds an unexpected and charming layer to the plot.

Upon reading the blurb and seeing the cover, I anticipated a light-hearted, warm, and friendly book centred around a community coming together to help the local hedgehogs. However, the novel delved deeper into the complexities of what goes on behind closed doors and the relationships and issues that occur with the hedgehog conservation seeming to play a secondary role.

This divergence doesn’t detract from the quality of the story for me, it just wasn’t what I was expecting and isn’t my preferred type of read, as I personally dislike soap operas. It features moments of humour and a vastly diverse cast of characters, some likeable and others less so.

Prickly Company is a novel about communities, friendship, and about life in general. It is an easy and engaging read and I loved the hedgehog’s getting their own voices. Overall, the book is quite poignant and heart-warming I just would have preferred less drama and more laughs.

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Kitty Johnson

Kitty Johnson

Kitty Johnson is the author of Five Winters. She has an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia and teaches occasional creative writing classes. A nature lover and artist, Kitty enjoys walking in woodland and on the coast with her dog and makes collages and paintings from the landscape.

She loves a challenge and once performed stand-up comedy as research for a book—an experience she found very scary but hugely empowering. Kitty lives in Norwich, Norfolk, in the UK with her partner and teenage son.

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