Welcome to this stop on The Wild Girl Blog Tour! Today I have a review of the enthralling novel that is The Wild Girl. Tomorrow I will have an interview with the author Kate Forsyth so be sure to check back then. So without further ado:
The Wild Girl
Release Date: 22nd July 2013
Publisher: Allison and Busby
Source: Received from publisher as part of the blog tour.
Synopsis: Once there were six sisters. The pretty one, the musical one, the clever one, the helpful one, the young one...And then there was the wild one.
Dortchen Wild has loved Wilhelm Grimm since she was a young girl. Under the forbidding shadow of her father, the pair meet secretly to piece together a magical fairy tale collection. The story behind the stories of the Brothers Grimm.
Review: After reading the flawlessly written Bitter Greens By Kate Forsyth I was incredibly excited to see what she produced next. To find out it was another fairy tale retelling filled me with joy. That novel is The Wild Girl and just like before Forsyth has written an enchanting novel that many readers will love. The novel itself is full of detail and is written so beautifully that you can't help but always read more than you originally set out to do. The world in which the novel is set has been clearly described and painted in the readers mind that it makes the story that much better. The readers are really drawn deep into the story and they will feel attached to the characters and the world around them. I only have good words about The Wild Girl, once again Kate Forsyth has successfully woven real lives and fairy tales set amongst a background steeped in history.
The Wild Girl tells the story of a girl called Dortchen Wild. She is the wild girl, not only by name but by nature. Dortchen lives in a German town called Cassel during the Napoleonic Wars. The Wilds live next door to the Grimm family and play a key part in the success of the Brothers Grimm. Dortchen and her five sisters tell the Grimm brothers many fairy tales which would go on to be included in their story collection. The novel begins when Dortchen is a young girl and she firsts meets Wilhelm Grimm. As the story progresses we see the relationship between the two grow and expand, sometimes even stretching to its limits. All of this takes place while their town is in chaos and uproar due to the Napoleonic wars. Cassel is continuously being invaded and both families have to fight to survive when food and money is scarce. We see both face many problems but the thing that keeps them going is the fairy tales they both love. This is the story behind the stories themselves.
We see a lot of character growth with Dortchen, so much happens and so much changes but the love for the character remains steady throughout the whole novel. Dortchen is a fully detailed character and one whose journey you will love to share despite some darkness and hard truths. At first we see Dortchen as a reckless wild young girl, who always breaks the rules even though she will be punished later. She is carefree and reckless and has a strength about her. She is also one of the kindest characters you will ever read about, she will always try and help those in need even when she herself is troubled. But soon she has to grow up, at first she remains wild but then her father begins to enforce more rules and she gets beaten when she disobeys. This breaks the wildness slightly, it's still there but now there is caution and even a level of maturity about her. Throughout the novel we see Dortchen grow and change. Times become extremely hard for her, not only is the country at war, there is also some problems at home. Some dark and inexcusable things happen and it changes Dortchen forever. It begins to crack the wild girl and soon it all weeps away leaving a dull mannequin in the place of the previously joyous girl. Will Dortchen be able to overcome the terrible things that have happened to her and begin to trust people again? Well you'll have to read and find out. I can guarantee that the detail and realness to the character will blow you away.
There are many strong supporting characters in The Wild Girl, from the Wild Girls to the Grimms, all of them are great, flawed and real like they should be. Wilhelm is my personal favourite, historical romance fans will find him extremely swoon worthy. He is such a gentleman with a soft heart. He always looks out for his family first and will do anything to ensure that they are safe and are cared for, even if that means sacrificing his health and well-being. His love of literature and the written word is so profound and detailed you can tell the author has done so much research to get things so precise.
Although I have already touched upon it, I would like to talk about the detailed backdrop of the story. It is set in Cassel, a German town during the Napoleonic Wars. Many times it is invaded and thrown into chaos, while other times the whole town is celebrating. In a way the town was a character in its own right, always changing and developing as things happened to it. It really changed throughout the novel and it will never be the same again, I think this greatly resembles the growth we have in characters. You can tell just by reading a small part of the novel that Kate Forsyth has spent a lot of time researching the place and the history that takes place in the novel. It is wonderfully described and flawless. As a reader you can imagine walking down the streets greeting the Wild Girls and saying good morning to the Brothers Grimm among many others. It really blew me away, the true extent of it all and it really adds to the novel.
The last things I'm going to talk about is the fairy tales that are told during the course of the novel. I was incredibly surprised to realise that in reality I only knew a few of the fairy tales told by the Brothers Grimm and was very happy to learn more old fairy tales and the hidden meanings and lessons in each. They truly are stories woven into the story and it just works so well. At times Dortchen uses these stories to express her feelings and even events of her life that she would otherwise not say out-loud. It shows the raw power that fairy tales have and how they can give people strength, no matter their age, gender or class, and are very important in times of need.
The Wild Girl is one of those rare stories in which everything works. The characters, the plot, the setting, the themes and even the truths within the stories. History is woven with fairy tales in this extraordinary novel. The Wild Girl is a book that will stay in the readers mind long after reading. It is a powerful book, one that is easy to read while taking in so much detail and depth. It is simply flawless. Kate Forsyth has well and truly done it again.
About the Author:
Kate Forsyth is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 books for adults and children , translated into 13 languages. She was recently named in the Top 25 of Australia's Favourite Novelists. Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for many awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Gypsy Crown series of children's historical novels. Kate’s latest novel, Bitter Greens, interweaves a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale with the scandalous life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer Charlotte-Rose de la Force. It has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’ and ‘an imaginative weaving of magic, fairy tale and history’. A direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, Kate is currently studying a doctorate in fairy tales at the University of Technology in Sydney, where she lives by the sea, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.
Please visit Kate Forsyth's WEBSITE and BLOG for more information. You can also find her on FACEBOOK and follow her on TWITTER.