The Wild Girl

The Wild Girl

Book - 2015
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"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"
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press, 2015
Edition: First U.S edition
ISBN: 9781250047540
Branch Call Number: Fiction Forsyth
Characteristics: 495 pages ; 25 cm


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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.

ArapahoeSummer 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.

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.


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