The Wild Girl

The Wild Girl

A Novel

eBook - 2015
Average Rating:
5
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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.
Publisher: 2015
ISBN: 9781466847842
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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m
michym
Aug 13, 2017

Just a heads up - this book contains physical and sexual abuse by a family member. So if you're not comfortable reading about that, give this one a hard pass - it's not just one isolated instance.

SnoIsleLib_LindseyA May 27, 2017

This is a powerful story about Dorothea "Dortchen" Wild, friend to the Grimm brothers and a living source for their fairy tales. The book follows Dortchen from girlhood to womanhood, juxtaposing the coming of age narrative with the political upheaval of Napoleon's Europe. (In fact, the French occupation of Germany compelled the Grimm brothers to collect fairy tales and preserve their cultural heritage.) As she grows up, Dortchen inspires the brothers and even romances the shy, studious Wilhelm, all the while enduring horrible abuse from her father. The bittersweet nature of this story makes it painful to read at times, but it's worth it if you enjoy reading about characters conquering their demons. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in fairy tale traditions and/or richly told historical fiction. Kate Forsyth writes beautifully.

AL_SUMMER Mar 20, 2017

I loved the historical detail and folk tales throughout this novel, but found it difficult to finish the book. Some of the scenes toward the end were a little too graphic for me.

r
ryner
Feb 07, 2017

We're all at least nominally familiar with The Brothers Grimm and their fairy and folk tales, but who were Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, and how did they amass such a collection of stories? Author Kate Forsyth, who holds a doctorate in the marvelous-sounding field of "fairy-tale retellings," brings these two legendary folk heroes to life through the eyes of their real-life contemporary neighbor, young Dortchen Wild.

Right off the bat I should mention that Forsyth's characters are regrettably two-dimensional throughout most of the book. However, I was able more or less to look past this, being swept up in the world of Cassel in the early 1800s during the Napoleonic Wars. If even only partially true, this is a pretty magical, and yet meticulously researched, behind-the-scenes story surrounding icons of Western literature.

j
JEM_LPL
Sep 19, 2015

Kate Forsythe's last novel,"Bitter Greens", was a clever retelling of the Rapunzel story interwoven with the real life scandals of Madam De La Force. Her new novel, "The Wild Girl", is a similarly heartbreaking tapestry of hard fact and the power of fiction to keep people going through war, poverty, disease, family loss and devastation.

Dorothy Wild ("The Wild Girl", though the pun doesn't work in German) is the heroine of her story, and like all fairy tale heroines, she has to endure many trials to win the heart of her handsome prince, i.e,. Wilhelm Grimm, the boy next door. Their fairy tale is grim indeed, (OK, the pun was there, I had to take the opportunity. ;-). it includes a invading army of Napoleon's forces, poverty, death, desertion, and worst of all, Dorothy's abusive tyrant of a father, who may have been the model for the incestuous king in "All Kinds Of Fur". However, like all good fairy tales, true love triumphs in the end.

Forsyth points out how the Grimm fairy tales have been adapted into novels, TV, comics, movies and more, but their most important role may lay in helping survivors of sexual abuse. She cleverly untangles the mystery at the heart of "All Kinds Of Fur",-- one of the most disturbing stories in Western literature. If you've been a victim of abuse, or a friend or relative of a victim, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

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