The Wilding, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


This is a novel of secrets and revenge within a seventeenth-century English family.

Longlisted for the Orange Prize 1672. A generation after the Civil War, Jonathan Dymond, a cider maker, has so far enjoyed a quiet life.

But when he discovers a letter from his dying uncle, hinting an inheritance and revenge, he is determined to unravel the mystery in his family.

Under the pretence of his cider business, Jonathan visits his newly widowed aunt and there meets her unruly servant girl, Tamar, who soon reveals that she has secrets of her own...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical fiction
  • ISBN: 9780571251872

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

The Wilding is set in England in 1672, just after the end of the Civil War. Our narrator is Jonathan Dymond, a young man who works as a cider-maker. Jonathan lives with his loving parents and leads a quiet, happy life, travelling around the neighbouring villages with his mobile cider-press. But when Jonathan's father receives a mysterious letter from his dying brother, Jonathan grows suspicious and decides to visit his uncle's widow to investigate. At his Aunt Harriet's house he meets Tamar, one of his aunt's servants, and begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding his uncle's death.This story was entertaining, very compelling and kept me turning the pages. McCann evokes the period very well. I liked the way she portrayed a small rural community in 17th century England. I also learned more than I could ever wish to know about cider-making and apples!But to me, the difference between a good book and a great book is having strong characters that I can connect with - and unfortunately I felt that most of the characters in The Wilding had very little depth. As the narrator, Jonathan was boring and not very engaging. Tamar and her mother were both interesting, well-drawn characters, but as we only saw them through Jonathan's eyes, I didn't get to know them as well as I would have liked to. It would have been nice to have had part of the story told from Tamar's perspective.So, I thought The Wilding was a good book but not a 5-star one. I would recommend it to people who like well-written, fast moving historical fiction with plenty of twists and revelations.

Review by

The Wilding is one of those novels that grabs your attention while reading it but which, in my case, doesn't leave track.England, 1672 after the Civil War. Jonathan discovers part of a letter addressed to his father from his recently deceased uncle. Secrets covered for years start coming to surface when he decides to visit her widowed aunt and learn more about his uncle and his family's past.Attracted irrationally towards one of the maids, Tamar, Joanathan has to face some truths he might not be prepared for.All in all, the novel was well written, it was emotionally well developed and the sense of suspense was present along the story.But something in Jonathan didn't convince me. He was immature, girly and somehow, a bit pathetic. The end was somehow predictable and the historical background wasn't much worked.Good for entertainment but no masterpiece.

Review by

Interesting period of history to set a novel in. If you were looking for historical detail in the style of the Shardlake mysteries then you may be disappointed although I certainly learned a lot about cider pressing. This is a family drama story and at that it is quite admirable, ther are enough twists and turns to keep the reader titillated to the end. I can't help feeling however that the main character is a little too 'girly'. Can I use that phrase. I know that male authors can often be criticised for not capturing the female characters so well. I am not saying the the male character here is unbelievable however it is difficult to believe that he can be quite so naive at times. He often can't se things that are right in front of him. Sometimes I wated him to act a little more than he appeared to. That aside this is a well written book and an interesting story. It just lacks a little more atmosphere from the time, or what point is there in setting it in another era?

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