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The Wilding [Paperback]

Maria McCann
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Feb 2010
In her second novel Maria McCann returns to 17th Century England, where life is struggling to return to normal after the horrific tumult of the Civil War. In the village of Spadboro Jonathan Dymond, a 26-year old cider-maker who lives with his parents, has until now enjoyed a quiet, harmonious existence. As the novel opens, a letter arrives from his uncle with a desperate request to speak with his father. When his father returns from the visit the next day, all he can say is that Jonathan's uncle has died. Then Jonathan finds a fragment of the letter in the family orchard, with talk of inheritance and vengeance. He resolves to unravel the mystery at the heart of his family - a mystery which will eventually threaten the lives and happiness of Jonathan and all those he holds dear.

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (4 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571251781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571251780
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 458,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'I was ever eager to get back to The Wilding, reluctant to put it down and sorry when it was finished.' --Lionel Shriver, Financial Times

'An absorbing drama of revenge, inheritance and danger...packed with intrigue and historical detail.' --Kate Saunders, The Times

'A tour de force.' --Independent

Book Description

The passionate, thrilling and hugely satisfying quest for the dark truth at the heart of a 17th Century English family.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great read 25 Oct 2010
17th century England, twenty or so years after the Civil War. Jonathan Dymond is a young man, a cider maker with a conventional and rather dull life. This changes when his dying uncle sends for his father and Jonathan discovers a tantalising remnant of the letter when his father returns from the visit. Intrigued by mention of "reparation" and "a vicious wench", he decides to investigate and sets off to see his uncle's widow. There he meets the filthy but intriguing beggar girl turned servant, Tamar and her mother Joan. Soon, to his parents' dismay he is involved with them and the secrets which are subsequently revealed change his life forever. This is a rollicking good read with superb descriptions of life at that time and all the dirt and filth that went with it. The language draws you in and gives a flavour of the 17th century without being "olde worlde". I enjoyed this book very much and am now going to seek out her first book which by many accounts is even better! Great!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better 21 Jan 2011
A decent story but sadly lacking in historic detail. Although set in 1672, for the most part could have been during any era as there was little to remind us that we were actually reading about fictive events taking place a generation after the Civil War. Sure, we wouldn't expect people to be whipped from villages or forced to live in caves in the woods these days, but the descriptions were lacking so much that I found myself visualising these people in homes much like ours and wearing modern clothes. Without previous knowledge of the era, how could one be expected to visualise the correct setting when the author does so little to help us in that respect? Even King Charles II barely gets a mention, despite the life of one of the main characters being greatly influenced by the king's soldiers during the Civil War, and Cromwell isn't even mentioneded in direct connection with the war.

Sadly, I finished the book with no more knowledge of the era than I had before, and that wasn't much. Such a shame really because the story had so much potential. Still a decent, easy read, though. Something for the beach, perhaps.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A right readable romp 15 Dec 2010
By Hayles
This is a well-written historical romp that is easy to read. It is an enjoyable page turner that once you get in to you will find it hard to put down. The story is compelling although at times you have to suspend disbelief to accept what is going on (especially at the start). If you pick this novel up expecting a good, fun read you won't be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Improbable & boring 17 May 2011
By Sue B.
I'm afraid I expect more from an historical novel than this one provided.
The plot was thin and repetitive, the characterisation stereotypical and the novelist certainly didn't manage to convey the mindset of people living at a time when religion weighed much more heavily than it does today.
This was particularly apparent in the hero who seemed to feel little of the guilt and fear of damnation that such a conventional character would have felt in an incestuous relationship.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing 15 Jun 2011
It starts off wonderfully, but it doesn't deliver. After 100 of the 335 pages I was bored. I carried on to the end because I thought no-one who held me spellbound in the opening 20 pages could lose me so completely in the rest -- but she can and she did. An immense disappointment after such a promising start. I'm not going to go into detail because, frankly, the book does not merit that level of attention.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars depends where you start from..... 27 Dec 2010
By jennyg
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can understand a 5 star review if this book is your first taste of Maria McCann, and your expectations of history-based fiction are not very high - she is a fabulous writer, and deserves all the praise she gets.
but if you've read As Meat loves Salt, and were as blown away as I was, this book is not a patch on that first one. Jonathan is so tame, the 'mystery' takes so long to unfold (and you can see what's coming), his family is so loving,etc etc. - I missed the ambiguity, the ethical morass, the power, and the unforseen/potentially fatal that she displays so well in AMLS. there, the ground shifts under your feet, and you are kept constantly off-balance, in your emotions and perceptions.
I was never really holding my breath for Jonathan - dear oh dear, another bad dream .....
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, chilling and totally absorbing. 29 Jan 2010
I haven't read 'As Meat Loves Salt', the author's previous novel, which clearly had a rave reception, so didn't know what to expect from this. But whatever expectation I had was far exceeded. This is a beautifully written, brilliantly constructed story of family, duty, war, betrayal, sex, madness and lies. Totally absorbing, wonderfully evocative not just of time and place, but also of an entire society exhausted by war and unable to face its own dirty secrets. I raced through it in a couple of days, desperate to uncover the mystery at the heart of the story. A fabulous read.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An odd one this ... 1 Sep 2010
... yes, an odd one.

The setting is wonderful. Rural England in 1672. The period, just a few decades after the Civil War, with the effects still being felt and the country still unsettled, comes wonderfully to life.As does the real countryside. Rustic, beautiful, but also tough and grubby. You really do feel that you can see, hear, feel, touch, taste ...

And the plot held great promise.Jonathan Dymond works as a cider-maker, travelling from orchard to orchard to make a living. A rather gauche young man. He was steady narrator and I believed in what I saw through his eyes and felt though his heart. Jonathan is a much loved only child. His family is secure, settled and respected in their community. And they are happy.

Matthew and Barbara Dymond are good people. A little ordinary maybe, but that works to good effect as the story develops. Their equilibrium is disturbed when Jonathan's Uncle Robin is taken ill and dies. And then Jonathan finds the remains of a letter from Robin to his father. A letter suggesting that Robin wanted to try to put right wrongs of the past, and that he needed help to do it. Jonathan is unsettled - and maybe just a little bit curious. And so, with the excuse of helping his widowed aunt with her apple harvest, he tries to find out more.

It does not take him long to uncover the truth that has been hidden away in the family, but as more and more secrets are uncovered, his family's security and happiness is threatened.

The hidden truth concerns Jonathan's Aunt Harriet and her estranged sister Joan. And maybe Joan's daughter Tamar. All intriguing characters, and I am sorry that Jonathan's narration didn't allow me to see more of their hearts and minds.

But it's all beautifully written.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars "As Meat Loves Salt" stands along side the great novels of European...
Maria McCann is an historical novelist who captures the past seemingly effortlessly; yet, the research in which she has engaged is surely a colossal endeavor. Read more
Published 3 hours ago by Robert M. Linn
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed Maria McCann's As Meat Loves Salt but this offering ...
For the most part, I enjoyed Maria McCann's As Meat Loves Salt but this offering left me cold, and I really struggled to finish it. Read more
Published 25 days ago by C. Jones
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple story but easy reading
A good change from the hectic and bizarre stories so often produced. The characters are too lightly drawn but still it carries its tale well and without too much diversion from... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs A J Munn
5.0 out of 5 stars book
I was pleased with all aspects of this purchase: the product arrived promptly and was in excellent condition and met my expectations.
Published 6 months ago by Ms. S. J. Rolph
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I really enjoyed reading this book Some of the plot was obvious but I enjoyed it. A good bedtime book
Published 6 months ago by P
3.0 out of 5 stars kindle book
It was ok .Certainly different to what i expected. I did finish the book to see what the outcome was
Published 7 months ago by Catherine Mcbain
4.0 out of 5 stars Love and Hatred
This is a story that completely grips you from start to finish. How can people let events that happened so many yeas ago still keep all the hatred they felt then still rule their... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dawn Brazier
5.0 out of 5 stars New to Maria McCann
This was different to the usual type of book I read but thought I'd give it a try. Couldn't put it down and have just bought As Meat Loves Salt as the reviews really rated this... Read more
Published 8 months ago by RCB
1.0 out of 5 stars Like walking through treacle
My first time reading Maria McCann and likely to be my last. A poor story with 2D characters and situations. I kept waiting for the story to get going but it never did. Read more
Published 8 months ago by liz
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I liked this book, it kept me interested and at times transported me to a different era with the beautifully descriptive passages.
Published 9 months ago by Christine
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