“There are no accidents. There is only fate.”
Posie Graeme-Evans latest historical fiction novel, Wild Wood delightfully combines romance, mystery and intrigue in a tale which transcends time.
On the borderlands of Scotland, the castle Hundredfield is unwell. Known for his strict yet fair governance, Norman warlord Godefroi has sent his people into chaos, torn apart by the disappearance of his new wife, Lady Flore, who apparently died in childbirth. His brothers, Bayard and Maugris struggle to keep the village running smoothly, and worry for the brother they once knew so well. And what will become of the child Lady Flore left behind?
Fast-forward six hundred years. London is high on the recent marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer, but for Australian Jesse Marley, this is far from a time for celebration. Having just discovered she was adopted, she finds herself in search of her birth mother and longs to uncover the secrets of her past. Unfortunately, her big plans are not working out as she hoped and things take a turn for the worse when she is struck by a motorbike and confined to a hospital bed, unable to speak.
The doctor assigned to her case, Rory Brandon is intrigued by Jesse’s recovery process – she dreams vividly of times long past and sketch places and people she has never met before – strange things she would not have engaged in prior to the accident. In particular, he is interested in her drawing of Hundredfield, the castle where Rory spent most of his childhood days. Why do her pictures keep recalling memories of Rory’s past? Who is this mysterious girl and what is her connection to the Lady of the Forest?
Inspired by the Legend of the Fairy Flag, a Scottish legend which speaks of a clan leader falling in love with a fairy princess, who after giving birth to their child, returns home, Wild Wood is not your usual work of historical fiction, which often stay firmly within a specific historical period. Instead it takes place over two periods of time, that of Jesse’s (1981) and Godefroi’s brother Bayard (1321).
It is these interweaving perspectives that really make this book special. The inclusion of Bayard within the story not only gives the narrative depth, but fuels the characters residing in the more current time period. As readers follow Jesse on her journey to find a place where she belongs, they can’t help but wonder about what Hundredfield was like in its glory days. In this, Graeme-Evans has forced the readers to look beyond the surface, drawing them into the novel and keeping them waiting for more, even as they turn that final page.
Having spent many years as a television producer, working on some of Australia’s best loved programs, including Hi-5 and McLeod’s Daughters, Graeme Evans knows how to produce work audiences will love. Wild Wood, her fifth novel, is no exception.
I have been hooked on the novels produced by Graeme-Evans for a while now, but I can honestly say that I believe this to be the best she has produced so far. Not only will this novel appeal to lovers of historical fiction, but readers of most genres. Overall, it’s a fantastic tale well told.
[Editor/Author’s Note: This article was published by The Australia Times Books Magazine. To view it in it’s original capacity, click here. If you would like to read what Posie Graeme-Evans had to say about the book, click here.]