The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

The Wild Girl


Recently, I received The Wild Girl (C ) by Kate Forsyth from BookBrowse in exchange for a review. Sadly, I was greatly disappointed in this historical fiction tale of the Brothers Grimm.

Dortchen Wild is one of six sisters that live across the way from the Grimm family. When she meets Wilhelm she instantly knows, even at seven years of age that she is in love. Dortchen’s father is the town chemist and his lively hood, as all the others of the town, is greatly impacted by the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. These events fashion her father, already a foul human being, into a monster. For most of her life, her father abuses Dortchen. What gets her through almost every day is her love and devotion to Wilhelm.

Wilhelm and his brother are gathering folk stories that have been passed down through the generations. Their hope is to publish a collection of these stories in order to preserve them for the future. The stories that they collect are the ones that we have to come to know like, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and others.

I was interested in learning about the Brothers Grimm and their environment. Historically, Forsyth does a good job detailing the events that transpired during Napoleon’s time as Emperor. While Dortchen is a real person and became the wife of Wilhelm Grimm, I found her part of the story written almost like a fairy tale. The writing was juvenile at best and boring at worst.

Kate Forsyth missed an opportunity with The Wild Girl. She could have attracted attention to the Brothers Grimm and their literary achievements with a stronger novel. Instead, The Wild Girl is a grim tale that isn’t worth the effort.


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