Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 18th March 2013
Pages: 538
Book Source: Book win from Kate Forsyth :)

Synopsis: Dortchen Wild fell in love with Wilhelm Grimm the first time she saw him.

Growing up in the small German kingdom of Hessen-Cassel in early Nineteenth century, Dortchen Wild is irresistibly drawn to the boy next door, the young and handsome fairy tale scholar Wilhelm Grimm. 

It is a time of War, tyranny and terror. Napoleon Bonaparte wants to conquer all of Europe, and Hessen-Cassel is one of the first kingdoms to fall. Forced to live under oppressive French rule, the Grimm brothers decide to save old tales that had once been told by the firesides of houses grand and small all over the land.

Dortchen knows many beautiful old stories, such as 'Hansel and Gretel', 'The Frog King' and 'Six Swans'. As she tells them to Wilhelm, their love blossoms. Yet the Grimm family is desperately poor, and Dortchen's father has other plans for his daughter. Marriage is an impossible dream.

Dortchen can only hope that happy endings are not just the stuff of fairy tales.


My Thoughts:
I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to read a novel by Australian author Kate Forsyth. I purchased Bitter Greens in 2012 after reading a number of glowing reviews but *shame face* it's still unread ... I won't be stupid twice ;) 



The Wild Girl is an exquisite package, an epic tale of love, war and fairytales, impeccably researched, deftly layered and beautifully wrought. Kate, you hoped I'd be enchanted ... I truly was.

My copies of the Grimm Brothers fairytales from childhood are well loved and enjoyed still but I've never actually read anything about Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm nor Henriette Dorothea (Dortchen) Wild, the girl who lived next door to the Grimm family, so for me this was a uniquely special experience. Age old fairytales, some familiar, some not, are seamlessly blended with the narrative, contributing authenticity, poignancy and magic.

Haunting, breathtaking, evocative The Wild Girl has a dark beauty that left me speechless and in tears more than once, in turn entranced, outraged, horrified and saddened. 

Kate Forsyth captures the complexities of the human spirit with raw sensitivity ... frailties, cruelties on one hand, courage, selflessness and goodness on the other. Dortchen's father gave me nightmares, whilst I loved the detailed apothecary descriptions I was secretly hoping Dortchen would use her vast herbal knowledge and give her father a much needed dose of something lethal ... and painful!

Dortchen Wild fell in love with Wilhelm Grimm the first time she saw him. She was only twelve years old, but love has never been something that can be constrained by age. It happened in the way of old tales, in an instant, changing everything forever. It was a fork in the path, the turn of a key, the kindling of a lantern.

Through the Napoleonic Wars, poverty, sickness, abuse, Dortchen's love for Wilhelm is steadfast, her spirit crushed over the years by the oppressive control of her father, hope and longing remain palpable. 

... the end came all too soon but weeks later I sigh as I remember the beauty. 

The Wild Girl is a gift of storytelling about storytelling, it deserves to enter the exalted realm of classics. 

Recommend: An emphatic YES


Connect with Kate:






27 comments:

  1. This is a new one for me! thanks for the update.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll be able to pick it up when you're back in Melbourne Mystica :)

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. and now I wanna read Bitter Greens :)

      Delete
  3. Oh I am so jealous!! I just got Bitter Greens and cannot wait to read it...I have heard nothing but rave reviews about it! I tried finding this book at the Book Depository or Abe Books (I live in the US and it doesn't seem to be available here) and I either can't find it or a paperback copy is over $40! So I think I will have to cross my fingers they publish it here in the US. Thanks for the review I really want this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colleen, guaranteed worth the wait, guess that doesn't make you feel better lol. But it's available Book Depository 29th July pre-order $16.60 :)

      Delete
  4. Bitter greens is even better Sheree, and Colleen, look for The Wild Girl in October I think it is :)

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't wait Shelleyrae, I think your review of Bitter Greens was one of the ones that made me buy it, love bloggy friends recommendations :)

      Delete
  5. "Storytelling about storytelling" ... this sounds wonderful! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Stephanie, I think you'd love this one!

      Delete
  6. Loved your review - sounds like a great read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Mary, another 2013 favourite!!

      Delete
  7. "Haunting, breathtaking, evocative"....those are descriptions that definitely reel me in. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This is one I wouldn't necessarily have picked, but your wonderful review makes me long to read it. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have heard some great things about this book, but haven't had the chance to read any of her books before. I really hope to find some time soon.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Holy Freakin' cow! I need this book and like NOW!! Awesome review..you write beautifully!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What I love so much about your reviews is how much they can make me want to read a book, especially when It's a book I may have overlooked otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hurry up and read Bitter Greens! So good!

    ReplyDelete
  12. So many good reviews on this one, including yours. I'll have to get to it soon :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Awesome review. There has always been something so uniquely magical about the Grimm fairytales, but this one sounds incredibly romantic. Thanks for putting this one on my radar, I hadn't heard of it before. Hopefully with the new Grimm book coming out by Harlequin, a lot more readers will invest in this one too.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have been wanting to read this book forever. The whole concept of this book screams awesome to me. I am so glad you loved it and I'm sure once I read it I'll be giving it 5 stars!

    ReplyDelete
  15. A very unique sounding story. I look forward to reading it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. very strong review - appreciate your responses & luv the autographed copy =)
    nicely done..

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave some comment love, I'm a 'comment back' kinda girl. Don't forget to check the 'Notify me' box