For fans of Diana Galbaldon’s Outlander series comes a gripping and passionate new historical novel. Intrigue, ancient secrets, fairy tales, and the glorious scenery of the Scottish borders drive the story of a woman who must find out who she really is.
Jesse Marley calls herself a realist; she’s all about the here and now. But in the month before Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981 all her certainties are blown aside by events she cannot control. First she finds out she’s adopted. Then she’s run down by a motor bike. In a London hospital, unable to speak, she must use her left hand to write. But Jesse’s right-handed. And as if her fingers have a will of their own, she begins to draw places she’s never been, people from another time—a castle, a man in armor. And a woman’s face.
Rory Brandon, Jesse’s neurologist, is intrigued. Maybe his patient’s head trauma has brought out latent abilities. But wait. He knows the castle. He’s been there.
So begins an extraordinary journey across borders and beyond time, a chase that takes Jesse to Hundredfield, a Scottish stronghold built a thousand years ago by a brutal Norman warlord. What’s more, Jesse Marley holds the key to the castle’s secret and its sacred history. And Hundredfield, with its grim Keep, will help Jesse find her true lineage. But what does the legend of the Lady of the Forest have to do with her? That’s the question at the heart of Wild Wood. There are no accidents. There is only fate.
I love historical fiction. I can get lost in the pages of a well written book and I found myself lost in just such a book when I opened the pages to WILD WOOD, by Posie Graeme-Evans. This gem is a historical fiction with an overlay of not time travel, but not really fantasy either. It is a mix of folklore, historical fiction and an interesting current time mystery with just a touch of a love story to keep the love forlorn interested and turning the pages wondering who is going to get the cute young doctor.
The old country in the north of England and in the south of Scotland is riddled with ancient sites. There are many moldery castles hanging on, despite the fact that they should have long since collapsed in a heap of rubble. Posie took this magical setting to use as a backdrop as she began to weave a story of an adopted young lady, Jesse, looking for her birth parents, a young and brilliant psychiatrist, Rory, who takes her under wing after an unfortunate accident leaves her with a head injury and a lot of unanswered questions. He whisks her off to one of these moldery castles up near the Scottish border. After they arrive, her dreams of the past intensify, about the very castle that they are staying in and she discovers that she has already met the owner of the castle, Alicia just before she landed in the hospital in London. The oddities just continue and grow more complex with the unwinding of the story.
The mystery of the story that Jesse continues to reveal through the dream sequences of the Hundrefield during the 1400s is a wonderful historical fiction story, unto itself. It is well written, the characters multi-dimensional, and you can live, breath and smell the very essence of what it would be to live in Hundredfield with the Donnes during that time period.
It is the very magic and essence of the Ancient Ones, especially the ”Lady of the Forrest”, that binds the two stories across the centuries, as she draws Jesse, Rory, and Alicia (the owner of the castle) into a more and more complex mystery in the present, even as the story progresses and becomes more poignant in the past. Each of the storylines stands well alone, as a wonderful mystery and love story.
WILD WOOD is the masterful weaving of the two stories together, and the surprising, but logical conclusion of this book makes this complex novel a worthy read. Though at times not an easy read and at times it seems to bog down. History is not all excitement either. It is the hunger for the “answers” that kept me moving forward, for I knew that even these few sections would offer logical reason on retrospect at the end.
Posie paid attention to detail in the development of her story, for each detail had a purpose and came back to answer an unsolved question later in the story. The face Jesse kept drawing, places in the castle Jesse knew about or could draw in detail that were pictures in old books in the castle library, these are small examples. There were little details like a white lock of hair in a character’s otherwise black locks. All of these small details were clues, they all had reasons. Small though they seemed, each was of some significance in the plot and storyline. Following those types of details and trails through a novel makes for exquisite reading. In this case it came to a true love affair with the story and characters between the pages.
WILD WOOD by Posie Graeme-Evans is literary work of potential significance in this reviewer’s opinion. With a FIVE STAR rating, I hope that she gains the attention of the reading public. I highly recommend her work for the serious historical fiction, historical mystery, historical folk lore, adult literary fiction, and historical romance readers. The book is not a light read, but is worth the relaxing diligent read of someone ready to enjoy a well written literary work.
Posie Graeme-Evans is the internationally bestselling author of five novels, including The Island House and The Dressmaker. She has worked in Australian film and television for the last thirty years as a director, commissioning executive and creator/producer of hundreds of hours of drama and children’s series, including the worldwide smash hit McLeod’s Daughters and Daytime Emmy nominated Hi-5. She lives in Tasmania with her husband and creative partner, Andrew Blaxland. Visit her website at PosieGraemeEvans.com.
Visit her website at PosieGraemeEvans.com.
You can purchase WILD WOOD at Amazon.com