WILDE

Image ©

By ELOISE WILLIAMS

An Adventure Book Review by Erin the Literary Cat©

Hello, and welcome to my Thursday Book Review featuring Adventures in Middle-Grade Fiction! 

This week we have a book first published in 2020, but one I think is so original and such a compelling story that it is worth sharing with those that may not yet have come across it. It was written by a highly accomplished writer and the then Children’s Laureate Wales. That is ‘an ambassadorial post which aims to engage and inspire the children of Wales through literature, and to promote every child’s right to have their stories and voices heard.’

That these posts exist is heartening to see, and this story is a testament to the undoubted creativity and skill of the author.

So, without further ado, here is my second solo selection for you to enjoy. I present WILDE by Eloise Williams

© Eloise Williams/Firefly Press/Anne Glenn

WILDE, by ELOISE WILLIAMS

Cover art by: ANNE GLENN

Published by: FIREFLY PRESS

Publication date: First published May 2020

Paperback ISBN: 978 191 310 2180

Cover price for Paperback £6.99.

Available in Kindle? YES

Pages 256.

Age range: Middle Grade (9-12 AND upwards)

Any dogs or cats?A cat called Mrs Danvers, who may just have magical leanings, and a long-eared sociable hound called Denzel.

SPOILER ALERT

There will be some minor spoilers as to certain characters/ situations within the story to advise as to the plot. We do, however, recommend this story. So if you wish to read it spoiler-free, please skip over the ‘So, what did we think? ‘section below.

Disclaimer. 

We were pleased to see and be approved to download a free reader copy of this book. We are even happier to share our own free opinion of this fine adventure with you.

The plot

Wild is a year six (10-year-old) student. Her mother died when she was young, and her father works away a lot. It is fair to say she has had problems at school – she doesn’t fit in, and things go wrong somehow, weird things that she can’t explain but gets the blame for. Each time she ends up moving school.

This time she got herself kicked out, so she could go and stay with her dad. But, he can’t get out of his work in America, so she has to go stay with her aunt Mae in the town of Witch Point, Wales. Witch Point holds a deep family connection. But it is also a place that is rooted in the memory of witches. Weird things happen there. People get struck by lightning in the same spot. And when there’s a funeral, the clock chimes thirteen. 

But worse, the town and townsfolk were cursed by a witch called Winter, who led seven sisters to their death centuries before. She had been hanged, but her curse lives on in memory.

Witch Point is in the middle of an unrelenting heatwave, that seems to have got worse since Wilde arrived. Winter’s curse predicted the heatwave and said it would lead to the death of all the townsfolk.

With only a few days left before the school year ends, Wilde, named after Oscar Wilde, attends Witch Point Primary. She tries to keep a low profile, desperate to fit in and leave all the weird stuff behind. But the weird stuff just gets worse, and the heat intensifies. She soon makes an enemy of Jemima, the class bully. But she also gains a friend in a talkative and knowledgeable girl called Dorcas.

Wilde’s year 6 class meets noted actress Gwyneth Fox-Rutherford as part of a Page to Stage presentation. She has come to direct the end-of-year school play. Much to the student’s dismay, they won’t be performing anything modern. They are to perform a retelling of the legend of ‘A Witch Called Winter’.

And that is when the weird stuff starts to happen, beginning with a crow flying into the classroom and landing on Wilde’s lap!

Here I will leave the story as we are getting into the realms of revealing far too much of the real adventure. Surfice to say, as the thermometer climbs so does the tension.

So, what did we think?

Once in a while, there is a story that fully engages the senses from the opening paragraphs. A story that is so well executed and thorough in its presentation, it becomes an instant and compelling read. This is one. Richly written, it is a confection for the imagination that starts slowly, tempting and drawing the reader in.

For me it was a slow burn, as they say. But one that, with all the might and suspense of Hitchcock, the flare of the Bard, the fear wrought by William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and horror of witch trials (all tempered for MG readers), progresses to a crescendo that is as wholly fulfilling as it is dramatic, fearful and delightful.

So . . . . 

Crunch time. 

This story is told in the first person by Wilde and is as dramatic, engaging, and addictive as any story I have read for this grade. We wholly recommend this story to readers of all ages, teachers and parents alike.

Want to buy a copy?

To get a copy, and assuming you are not in the midst of a cursed heatwave, please go to your local independent bookshop. There are plenty out there, and each is just waiting to serve up a treasure of literal magical resource, fun and adventure with a personal touch.

Eloise Williams’ WEB page can be found HERE  https://eloisewilliams.com/ 

Firefly Press’s web page can be found HERE. https://fireflypress.co.uk/

Thank you for visiting the blog. We hope you enjoyed the review and will return soon.

Till Laters!

ERin