Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth

The Wilds and the Grimms were neighbors.  It was natural that that they played together.  It was also natural to fall in love...

St. Martin's Press sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 7th, so grab yourself a copy then.

Dortchen tries not to love Wilhelm, but it's impossible.  Her father looks down on them and wouldn't allow her to marry him because he is poor and holds no position of importance.  In that era, she can't defy him.  Her oldest sister did, but she was more independent and she was smart.  She knew how to get what she wanted and she managed to shame her father into allowing her to marry.  This just made him more determined to control his remaining daughters.

This story is a hypnotic read.  The author draws you in by sharing tales of the families, talking about the war and Napoleon (the Ogre) and you also wonder who's going to be called to service and who's going to be married to whom.  When Rose is paired with a man even older than her father, she cries.  Their mother dies from breast cancer.  And Dortchen's father turns into a monster.

I did not like reading about his abuse of Dortchen.  Even more disgusting was his public denouncement of her as a whore and calling on her to repent.  He'd kept her away from Wilhelm only to keep her for himself.  I wish this was a bit lower key in the book instead of sharing the horror as much as the author did.

I never knew the Grimm's had a neighbor who shared fairy tales with them.  There was a real girl that helped them.  It takes years after the death of her father before Dortchen can purge his memories and his nightmares from her mind and accept the love of a man.  This is a historical novel based on facts the author researched.  She also understands abuse to depict it so well in this story.  And the story does have a happy ending; you just have to wait for it just like Dortchen had to wait for love.

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