Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Lauren Wolk’s Wolf Hollow is a beautiful tale set in the aftermath of the 2nd World War about a little girl named Annabelle caught up in a web of mystery and suspicion. The very first chapter of the book begins with “The year I turned twelve, I learned how to lie.” This powerful line sets the stage for not only the plot of the story, but also the themes that surround it.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren WolkWolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Series: Wolf Hollow #1
Published by Penguin on April 3, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, United States, 20th Century, Social Themes, Bullying, Lifestyles, Country Life
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon

Set in the wake of two global wars, Lauren Wolk’s Wolf Hollow is an excellent example of historical fiction as it explores the repercussions of two global wars through a child’s eyes. Though Wolk doesn’t often explicitly discuss the war, its effects are clear on the characters she creates.

Ernest Hemingway has this idea that stories should be like icebergs, saying “There is seven-eights of it under water for every part that shows.” Wolk is an expert at the unsaid. She knows exactly when to reveal a character’s thoughts and when to keep it hidden. The effect is that the story creates an atmosphere that feels so close to real life that you’ll feel like Annabelle, the main character, was your childhood friend.

Reminiscent of books like The Witch of Blackbird Pond, or To Kill a Mockingbird, Wolf Hollow asks questions of what truth and justice really look like, and encourages readers to check their assumptions of other people. As a winner of the John Newberry award (which celebrates American historical fiction), Wolk’s book creates a safe space for discussing the effects of the World Wars and the division they caused among even the inhabitants of a small town like Wolf Hollow.

Ultimately, Lauren Wolk writes with real honesty and vigor, lacing her words with themes of unity and friendship that will be remembered long after the reader’s first visit to Wolf Hollow.

Kindness is Life-Changing

In the wake of two world wars, much of what goes on in this story is left unsaid. The story explores the importance of truth—not just the truth of what happened in the wars, but also the truth of people’s character.

One of the most powerful characters in this story is a man named Toby. A confused and quiet man, Toby is known for wandering, taking photographs, and carrying three large guns on his back at all times. And the guns don’t even work!

As Annabelle gets to know Toby, they both become caught up in a web of lies, and Annabelle begins to hide the truth from her own family.

There comes a beautiful moment, however, near the end. I won’t spoil the details—you have to read this book for yourself. But soon enough, Annabelle’s parents discover that she’s been hiding the fugitive Toby in their barn. Instead of shaming Annabelle and getting rid of Toby, they seek to understand him, they invite him in, and they take care of him.

In response, the wounded man with three broken guns begins to carry one less gun on his back.

There is something incredible about the way that love, attention, and understanding can heal our traumas. Kindness can be life-changing, as it was to Toby. We ought to trust that God’s kindness pouring out of us is much more powerful than we might imagine.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.