Today I am delighted to be taking part in the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour for The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth.
I was very excited indeed about reading The Wild Girl, as I read a novel by Kate Forsyth earlier this year, Bitter Greens, which was a lovely book, so increasing my anticipation about this new book. It lived up to my high expectations - it's a super read, which again offers up an intriguing combination of fairytales and historical elements. Also, as with Bitter Greens, I think the cover of this one is a simply gorgeous design!
The story tells of the true love that grew between Dortchen Wild and Wilhelm Grimm, against the background of society at the time, with poverty, illness and Napoleonic wars. Dortchen was a muse but also told Wilhelm many stories, being therefore also a source of some of the renowned, magical fairytales told by Jakob and Wilhelm, the Brothers Grimm, stories which we of course still know and love to this day.
Dortchen has one brother, and she is one of six sisters, she is termed the 'wild' one. We are introduced to her when she is twelve years old, she meets Wilhelm Grimm for the first time, and immediately falls in love. Her strict father denounces Dortchen's wild spirit and he disapproves of the Grimm family next door, so Dortchen often has to be secretive to maintain her friendship with Lotte Grimm and her brothers, and as the tale unfolds she has to overcome many struggles and very dark times in her life. Kate Forsyth depicts the difficulties of life as the place they all live in, Cassel, part of the Holy Roman Empire, is invaded by the French. I felt the novel covered the history enough to enlighten those who, like myself, may have known very little about the battles of this period, without ever being too heavy. Ultimately we wonder, will Dortchen ever find her happiness?
This book really was a joy to read; the author uses language beautifully and so effectively to tell her story. The narrative is a delicious concoction combining historical detail, storytelling, fairytales and a compelling romance. It is also dark at times. It was a delight to discover the background to Grimm's tales and to escape into the pages of this book; the way the characters' world is recreated and vividly imagined drew me in, took me back in time and kept me turning the pages. It was fascinating to discover the story of this amazing unsung woman behind the famous men, and I'm so glad that Kate Forsyth has written about her here.
It's evident that a great deal of research preceeded the creation of this novel, and that a huge amount of passion went into the writing of it. The author brings so much detail and life to her storytelling. She admits in the book's acknowledgements that 'the story worked its way into my dreams'. I've read two books by this author to date, and both have been superb '5 star' reads for me.
Thanks very much to the publisher and the tour host for kindly providing a copy of this novel to read and review.
You can read my review of Kate Forsyth's novel Bitter Greens here.
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