Hawthorn Woods Review

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About the Book

Summer, 1989. Reeling from a catastrophic divorce she just can’t seem to leave behind, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two-week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place to sort through her pain and finally move on with her life—but the tranquility doesn’t last long.

Beginning with a complete stranger throwing a drink in her face at her own welcome party, Francine soon discovers the supposedly idyllic suburb is hiding a disturbing number of mysteries. Why is the handsome-ish guy next door lying about who he is? What’s hidden in the back of the teenage troublemaker’s shed? Who wrote a threatening message in blood? Which of the smiling neighbors has a secret they’d kill to keep?

Seeking to reclaim a natural passion for sleuthing numbed by her divorce, Francine rewrites her prescription from one of relaxation to one of investigation. If she can detect the lies, follow the clues, and remember how to trust herself, she might get to the bottom of what’s so very wrong in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again—assuming she lives long enough to be in it.


Welcome to the 80s! I’m so in love with this book being set in the 80s because honestly, some of my favorite music and movies came from this time period! And then there’s the fashion! I mean, it was wild and out there but still so so amazing! So add a thriller to this setting and it’s basically the perfect spooky season read!

So, since this is a mystery/thriller I don’t want to get into the plot AT ALL. So, basically: there’s some twists and turns, the characters are all engaging and important to the story, and there are a few *gasp* moments. Out main character, Francine, is going through a difficult time in life and uses her hunt for the “who-done-it” as a sort of prescription from the thoughts clouding her mind (which is relatable after dealing with COVID for so long). As she puts her all into the mysteries of this neighborhood we learn that there is much more than meets the eye to our characters and there are some shocking things occurring amongst the neighbors.

With a wonderful setting and lot of shocks, Hawthorn Woods is an AMAZING read! It gave me all the eighties feels and I literally couldn’t put the book down. I’m sometimes a little iffy with thrillers, but this one had my attention from the start and the added mystery really pulled me in. There was just so much action and underlying secrets that you cannot help but become invested in this small community.

About the Author

PATRICK CANNING is the author of three novels, including Cryptofauna (2018), The Colonel and the Bee(2018), and his latest, Hawthorn Woods (2020). He has also published several short stories. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing beach volleyball, following space exploration, and losing at bar trivia. Some of his favorite authors include Bill Watterson, Liane Moriarty, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Patrick lives in Los Angeles with his Australian Shepherd, Hank, who some consider to be the greatest dog of all time.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

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