What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine is a wonderful fairy tale set in modern times.

Although there are some dark undertones in the book (this darkness seems to grow as the book progresses), there also is a hope that grows as well. I know that that description sounds counter to each other, but it works. It works because for many of the characters there is a darkness that grows, but for Maisie (the main character) there is a hope and yearning for freedom from her affliction.

It is an original and intriguing story that keeps the reader captivated as Fine switches between the women in the woods and Maisie. It has serious undertones of a fairy tale with a malevolent dark figure, an innocent heroine, and magic.

Even though it seems like a fairy tale, the characters are very relatable. Some of them have supernatural powers, but they have very human characteristics. For example, even though Maisie cannot touch someone or something without killing it or bringing it back to life, she experiences that very human need for touch. She yearns to touch someone without the fear of killing them. This yearning drives her to solve the mystery of the missing women in her ancestral family.

Fine gracefully weaves a common thread through all of the women who have been lost to the wood – tragedy and how that tragedy is passed down through the generations. Although the tragedy varies, it has the same outcome for the women.

A good read.

What Should Be Wild Book Cover What Should Be Wild
Julia Fine
May 8, 2018

In this darkly funny, striking debut, a highly unusual young woman must venture into the woods at the edge of her home to remove a curse that has plagued the women in her family for millennia—an utterly original novel with all the mesmerizing power of The Tiger’s Wife, The Snow Child, and Swamplandia! Cursed.

Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.

But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.

About the author

Jeff Grim

Jeff Grim has been a reader all of his life. He has had a particular interest in military history, any war at any time. His fascination with military history has brought him to an interest in historical fiction where the history comes alive with fictitious heroes and villains. Recently, Jeff has become interested in historical mysteries set in various time periods.

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