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Wildish by Robert Parry

Posted By Claire on May 15, 2013

wildishRobert Parry’s latest historical novel, Wildish, is set in the 18th century, in Georgian England, a period I have never studied in depth. This made me slightly wary of reading it because I like to have enough knowledge to be able to figure out what is fact and what is fiction. However, my worries were unfounded because this novel concentrates on a fictitious character, and his friends, rather than a real historical character. There are real characters and events in it, for example, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite uprising, but the focus is on the character and his quest “to be transported to the heavens themselves” by a harem of women.

Matthew Wildish is a poet and Master Wig-maker on a mission. He enjoys life to the full, but wants more. He has had many women in his life, and has feelings for his best friend’s wife, but he is convinced that he can reach a higher plane with his plan. He must try and build his harem while avoiding the man-eating Lady Snatchal, whose fall from a horse, she explains, has made her have an insatiable sexual appetite, and while repairing a very special wig for Lord Snatchal. All that, while being a good friend to Sam, helping damsels in distress and gathering intelligence for the King – phew! By the end of the novel, Wildish has had an incredible journey fraught with danger and has discovered the true meaning of love. The tag line of the novel is “A story concerning different kinds of love” and that is spot on. The story covers friendship, sex, the love one has for one’s country, family love and true love. The story is also rather ‘saucy’ at times and has some rather humorous moments. Wildish does get himself into some tricky situations!

I was intrigued by the start of the book, when Wildish starts planning his quest for love, and I loved his character, but I must admit to struggling with the middle of the book. I got a bit lost with the history and wondered where the story was going, but then it picked up and grabbed me once more. I was hooked by the last third and although I wanted to know what would happen to Wildish and his friends I also didn’t want the magic to end. If you do get bogged down in the middle, keep reading, it’s worth it!

As the 18th century is not my area of expertise, I would have liked a brief timeline of the historical events, just so that I could see where the fictional story fitted in with real events. I was a bit disorientated at times. The novel did, however, include a map showing places mentioned in the story and a brief guide to “Matthew Wildish’s London”.

Would I recommend it? Yes, indeed! It’s a novel to get lost in.

Book Blurb

From Amazon:

“England 1745. Poet and Master Wig-Maker to the great and the good of London society, Wildish is a man whose ambition is to enjoy life to the full. Yet already events beyond his control have begun to impinge upon his dissolute life. The heart of the nation is beating to the drums of war, and thousands of vengeful Jacobite soldiers from Scotland and France are about to converge upon the capital. There is also the presence of Johanna: mysterious, enigmatic and vulnerable, a woman unlike any other he has ever known, and the inconvenient and yet increasingly agreeable sensation that he might be falling in love for the very first time. A magical journey into the fabulous, libidinous world of Georgian England, in which reality and fantasy, romance and the occult combine in a story of epic intensity and poetic beauty.”

Book Details

Paperback: 598 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 10, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1484068734
ISBN-13: 978-1484068731
Available from Amazon.com and Amazon UK.

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