I was entirely surprised by my reading of this story simply for the bold fact that nothing about the actual novel was what I was expecting. I would consider this reasoning to be both a positive and a negative considering by what I discovered within the boundaries of this heroic and slightly lengthy tale.
With that being declared I will mention how much I adore the author as well as the stories that she has interwoven as simply as if the words were vines. The stories are brilliant and The Wild Girl was not an exception. The writing itself was nothing shy of outstanding and so I must highly praise Forsyth for penning such an alluring novel about loss, love and even tragedy.
However as much as this book has to enjoy for the reader there were flaws as well. The largest and perhaps the most frustrating fault I had with this book was the over descriptive details involving Napoléon's war as the author tended to drive the sense of the destruction of the war as well as the aftermath into my mind over and over again. I grew very tired of the discussions of the war, although it might have been a large part of history, I was more than anxious to read about the love between Dortchen and Wilhelm Grimm. For the most part the war felt more like a dreaded history less rather than a backdrop of the actual plot of the story.
Another flaw that I had with this book was the time that the author spent on Dortchen's childhood. The book tended to drag onward with Dortchen each year from the time that she was twelve until she was of age twenty. Overall during her younger years we are introduced to her crush on Wilhelm, a man seven years her senior and yet I did not find any events to be overly exciting during this time period. Each chapter mostly fall into the same slower pace than the previous chapter and by the time Dortchen was of age for Wilhelm to take her seriously I was more than ready for the romance to grow.
Lastly, the stories that Dortchen was believed to have told Wilhelm regarding the fairy tales that the Grimm brothers are most known for seemed to be absent throughout the book. There were brief mention of the fairy tale stories such as those of 'Snow White' and 'Hansel and Gretel,' but I thought that the stories should have been much more featured throughout the book since the stories themselves were meant to be the prime plot of the actual story.
Still, I have to applaud this story and the author for the unique effects that the book had on my mind as it was unlike any material that I have ever read and that made it enjoyable for me. I only think that there were some moments that could have been briefly mentioned in the story as I believe that the romance should have been the prime focus.
One of six sisters, Dortchen Wild lives in the small German kingdom of Hesse-Cassel in the early 19th century. She finds herself irresistibly drawn to the boy next door, the handsome but very poor fairy tale scholar Wilhelm Grimm. It is a time of tyranny and terror. Napoleon Bonaparte wants to conquer all of Europe, and Hesse-Cassel is one of the first kingdoms to fall. Forced to live under oppressive French rule, Wilhelm and his brothers quietly rebel by preserving old half-forgotten tales that had once been told by the firesides of houses grand and small over the land.
As Dortchen tells Wilhelm some of the most powerful and compelling stories in what will one day become his and Jacob's famous fairy tale collection, their love blossoms. But Dortchen's father will not give his consent for them to marry and war, death, and poverty also conspire to keep the lovers apart. Yet Dortchen is determined to find a way.
Evocative and richly-detailed, Kate Forsyth's The Wild Girl masterfully captures one young woman's enduring faith in love and the power of storytelling.