Blog Tours book reviews

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Published: February 20th, 2020
Publisher: Bantam Press
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Today is my spot on the blog tour for this sensational debut. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Bantam Press for the gifted copy of this book.


Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.

Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.

Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.

As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .


This exciting, compelling, daring and clever debut is without a doubt my book of the month. Atmospheric and creepy, it reads like a modern-day Grimm’s fairytale; full of jaw-dropping twists and keeping you on tenterhooks from start to finish.

13-year-old chess prodigy Elissa is abducted from a tournament in Bournemouth, waking to find herself imprisoned in a cellar in the “Memory Wood.”  She is soon visited by Elijah, a strange 12-year-old boy who claims to want to help but won’t go to the police or help her escape. He just wants a friend, and though he unnerves her, Elissa recognises that he could be her only means of escape. Will she be able to convince Elijah to help her return to her family? Or will she suffer the fate of his other friends that once lived below the Memory Wood?

Utterly mind-blowing and brilliant, it seems impossible that this is the author’s first novel. The exquisite, immersive prose and tangled web of intricate twists and turns had me transfixed. Not a single word was wasted and I devoured this book, desperate for answers and to learn the fate of our young narrators. 

Elissa and Elijah couldn’t be more different: Elissa is a warrior; the young prodigy uses her high intelligence, knowledge of the game, love of puzzles and trivia and tremendous courage to try and escape her captors. Though he says he is on her side, she realises she must tread carefully with Elijah and use his innocence and isolated upbringing against him, while also appearing to trust him as her friend. Elijah is a tragic but menacing soul. There’s something off about him from the start, and it’s not just that he doesn’t want to help an abducted girl escape. It’s the little clues he gives to his past, how he hides in the shadows, and how he can change from one moment to the next. I had my suspicions about him that were ultimately proven right, but with an almighty twist that shook me to the core. Running throughout the book is a captivating power struggle between the pair, where each is playing their own game in a bid to win and survive. 

The Memory Wood is an astonishing debut that crackles with tension from start to finish. Addictive, eerie and jaw-dropping, you won’t be able to put this book down. If you pick up just one book I’ve read this month then make sure it’s this one. 

Sam Lloyd Author Pic 2


Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, making up stories and building secret hideaways in his local woods.
These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. He enjoys craft
beer, strong coffee and (rarely) a little silence. The Memory Wood is his debut thriller.




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FINAL Memory Wood BT Poster

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