Hazel by Julie Hearn: Book Review

Hazel by Julie HearnHAZEL by Julie Hearn Book Review
Series: Ivy, #2
Publication Date: November 10th 2009 by Atheneum
Rating: – Poor

Book Summary: Sweet but dull – that’s how life has always been for Hazel Louise Mull-Dare. With money pouring in from the family’s Caribbean sugar plantation, a father who spoils her rotten, and no pressure to excel in anything whatsoever, her future is looking as prim and proper as one of her hats. But on the day of the Epsom Derby – June 4th, 1913 – everything changes. A woman in a dark coat steps out in front of the King’s horse, dying days later from her injuries. Who was she and why did she do it? Hazel is determined to find out. But finding out leads her into worse trouble than she could ever have imagined. It leads to banishment. To secrets that have festered, and a shame that lingers on. To madness and misunderstanding in the place where sugar cane grows. Sweet but dull – that’s how life used to be for Hazel Louise Mull-Dare. Not any more.

Hazel by Julie Hearn Book Review Overview:

  • Disjointed plot that felt like reading two separate books
  • Lack of suspense
  • Unrelatable main character

Sweet and dull is not only how I would describe the protagonist’s life, but also how I would describe the entirety of HAZEL by Julie Hearn. The novel as a whole felt too disjointed – the first and the second halves of HAZEL by Julie Hearn are so different that it felt like two separate books.

HAZEL by Julie Hearn is technically a sequel to Ivy by Julie Hearn. In HAZEL, the protagonist is Ivy’s daughter. HAZEL by Julie Hearn is more like a companion novel than a direct sequel because it can stand alone on its own. The only advantage of reading Ivy beforehand is a better understanding of Hazel’s mother.

Nothing bothers me more than a naive protagonist. I love my characters to be intelligent and independent. They don’t have to be a know-it-all (ahem, Hermione), but I’d like them to have a decent head on her shoulders. Hazel is unfortunately not one of those heroines. Admittedly, she is barely thirteen at the beginning of the novel, and she has very much to learn. She lives a sheltered life and her education as a gentleman’s daughter is pretty limited. Hazel’s naivete causes her to be easily manipulated by others.

My problem with HAZEL by Julie Hearn is also the lack of suspense. Hearn has the habit oftelling readers what is about to happen instead of just letting the reader figure it out themselves. This becomes even more problematic for me, because the things that Hearn tells readers are quite blatantly obvious to begin with.

The build-up of the plot in HAZEL by Julie Hearn is a slow build. Hazel won’t be sailing for the Caribbean until more than halfway through the novel. If historical novels aren’t your thing (and even if they are…) this probably won’t be the book for you if you cannot take a slow plot.

Furthermore, HAZEL by Julie Hearn felt too disjointed. When I was reaching the conclusion of HAZEL by Julie Hearn, it was almost hard for me to believe that the first and second parts of the novel are all from the same book. It was as if there were too separate plots, and it just wasn’t threaded well together seamlessly.  HAZEL by Julie Hearn does pick up in the second half of the book with the introduction of the family mystery

Upon further contemplation of the novel, it seems like the most important issue at hand, women’s rights, were simply brushed aside once more. Hazel doesn’t really ever get to learn the importance of women’s votes. Her “fight” for the suffragettes only caused her banishment from her home and humiliation. She still has a limited understanding of what it means for a woman to be able to vote due to the fact that her information came from someone who intended to betray her.

Overall, HAZEL by Julie Hearn was just not the book for me. I would probably only recommend this to those who like historical novels. If historical is definitely not your tea, then give this one a pass.


About the Author

Julie HearnJulie Hearn used to be a journalist. Julie lives in Oxfordshire where she writes full time (most mornings anyway) in a pink and green office in her garden.

Find the Author

Website | GoodReads

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