Book review: The Wilding, Maria McCann

Disclosure: this was a free LibraryThing Early Review copy

***

The Wilding book coverThis isn’t the sort of book I’d usually pick up. From the cover and the blurb it looked a bit sentimental for my tastes. However, I was pleasantly surprised once I’d started reading it. The book deals with some fairly emotionally charged subjects, but never veers into mawkishness. The time and setting are vividly described. McCann evokes the period of post-Civil War England without spending too much time on tedious exposition. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the cider making, which form a central function in the first half of the narrative.

My main criticism of this book is that the central character, Jon, was a little flat. He is tediously worthy throughout the book – his motives are never in question, and he never appears anything other than basically good, even when apparently “sinning”. His parents likewise were little more than dull ciphers – although their story does become more interesting towards the end of the book. Overall, Jon and his parents are never flawed enough to be interesting characters; they never feel like real people.

On the whole though, this was an enjoyable read. Not a great work of literature, but a nice book to while away a long train journey or curl up with on a lazy weekend.

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