Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Book Review: Wildwing, by Emily Whitman (Greenwillow Books, 2010)
Teenage fans of historical romance and time travel books are sure to love this new release by novelist Emily Whitman, whose first book, Radiant Darkness, was a #1 IndieBound pick.
Addy, a fifteen-year-old servant in 1913 England, dreams of a life she'll never have--a life of luxury, where people won't be constantly reminding her of her lowly place in society. But when she finds a mysterious old elevator in the dusty attic of her eccentric employer, Mr. Greenwood, she can't help herself and goes inside--pushes the button--and winds up in the 13th century.
When she's mistaken for the lord of the castle's fiance, the noble Lady Matilda, ward of the king, Addy doesn't bother to correct anyone, and despite many faux-pas in the beginning, begins to enjoy her role as future lady of the manor. Her fiance is away, and she is able to spend her time with the handsome young falconer, Will, "the lad with the eyes," learning to train Pilgrim, her very own falcon. Will's beginnings are shrouded in mystery, since he showed up lost as a toddler, with no trace of his parents to be found, a mystery that will be solved by the end of the novel. The reader is not surprised to find that Will and Addy fall in love, but what is our lovely heroine Addy/Matilda to do? Sir Hugh is soon home, eager to wed Matilda, get her in his bed--and receive the generous dowry the king has promised to bestow on Matilda's husband. Addy lives in fear that someone will recognize that she is not Matilda--should she try to take the lift back to her own time, leaving behind her beloved Will, the one she loves?
Whitman makes Addy a very appealing heroine, and this book is full of romance--not only the relationship between Addy and Will, but other elements of romance literature--from shipwrecks to dungeons to golden wedding gowns fit for a fairy princess. The secondary characters in the book are lots of fun as well, including Beatrix, who serves as Lady Matilda/Addy's maid and reminded me of the nurse in Romeo and Juliet with her earthy ways. Lord Hugh, Lady Matilda's fiance, is a blustering warrior, a contrast to the gentle Will who coaxes falcons--and young girls--to do his bidding. The story has its share of surprising twists to keep the reader turning the pages, which culminate in the requisite happy ending (at least for this genre!)
This book would be a good addition to school and public libraries as well as a very entertaining read for any teens or even adults who enjoy historical romances. The gorgeous cover should help attract teen readers (for more on the cover shoot, check out this link), who I'm convinced with be quickly engaged by Addy's story when they start reading.
If you would like to sample the first few chapters of this book, you can do so on Harper Collins website.