My March author for the Aussie Spec-fic authors challenge was Kate Forsyth. I read her latest book ‘The Wild Girl’ because I was lucky enough to win a copy from Kate’s blog, she even signed it(gotta love that elite reader feeling you get when you read a signed copy).
The Wild Girl is the story of Dortchen Wild, the girl who lived next door to the Grimm Brothers (yes those Grimm brothers) and told them many of their most beloved stories – even encouraging them when they considered giving up – all in the name of love. But don’t go into this novel expecting perfect flowering romance, this is as story with darker realities to it. You can read my review on Goodreads here.
The historical details are magnificent, everything from herbal lore and daily life to the exciting and terrifying times of the Napoleanic wars. Everything has been researched thoroughly and dripped into the book in a fashion where you learn so much without being info-dumped to death.
Also, as an added bonus this month, Kate herself visited one of my local libraries to do a reading to promote her book. She’s a great speaker (I’ve also heard her before at last year’s Brisbane Writers Festival) and her life story is actually as interesting as some of her books – so if you ever get the chance do go listen to her. I had her sign my copy of Bitter Greens since she’d sent me The Wild Girl already signed. It was quite exciting for me as well since she guessed I was a writer and (since I’d just got the news the night before) I was able to tell her about my first short story being accepted for publication.
I’m probably starting to sound a bit fan girl-ish, but it makes some sense when you realise I was reading Forsyth and Carmody in my teens, right when I was first getting into fantasy as a genre. These are some of the writers who solidified my love of the genre and formed part of who I am as a writer today, so I figure it makes sense to be a little fan-ish.
I’m going to be reading Gary Corby’s ‘The Pericles Commission’ for my April read. I’ve been wanting to get into Corby’s books for almost a year now, but the dreaded TBR pile of doom has been keeping me at bay. They are murder mysteries set in Athens in 461BC and I can’t wait to devour the first one.
Not the cover of the version I’m reading, but the cover of the first version I read. Kicking early 20’s Kirstie for selling it to a second hand bookstore.
For the February portion of the Australian speculative fiction authors challenge I decided to re-read and catch-up on the more recent volumes of Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn Chronicles. I had high hopes of reading most of the six volumes currently out so only one or two of the books would spill over into March. Unfortunately I read several other books as well, so only managed to finish the first three volumes. You can read my reviews thus far: Obernewtyn, The Farseekers, and Ashling.
The Obernewtyn Chronicles focuses on Elspeth Gordie, a Talented Misfit with a great destiny – to prevent the world from suffering a second apocalypse. First she has more to do though, like saving other Talents and guiding them to the one safe place in the Land for them, Obernewtyn, as well as keeping Obernewtyn safe for the tyrannical Council, fanatical Herders and more.
Destiny is constantly dragging Elspeth all over the Land and she soon learns she is involved in more than the one prophecy she originally knew of.
I’ve loved these books for years, since reading them as a teenager. Elspeth is a wonderful character, but an enigma to someone like me who is so open and quick-to trust. The traumas of her orphan childhood have led her to find it hard to accept Obernewtyn as her home, and over the three volumes I’ve read so far she has yo-yoed between accepting she will leave forever and elation at finally returning. Similarly she struggles with friendships and blossoming love. At her core however she is still a character who will fight and risk her life even for total strangers, acts she repeatedly enacts.
I’m looking forward to finishing what is out of the series and am keeping my ear to the ground for a confirmed release date on the seventh and final installment (supposedly September this year, lets hope it is!).
As for next month’s read (which I’ve cheekily started this month already since I received an ARC) I’ll be reading Kate Forsyth’s The Wild Girl, which is a story about Dortchen Wild, the girl who grew up next door to the Grimm Brothers and who told them many of their stories.
Kirstie Olley is an award-winning speculative fiction author and the full-time wrangler of her children Xander and Harlequin.
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