It is such an honour to be helping Harriet Evans celebrate her tenth novel, as part of the blog tour organised by Headline and Anne Cater. Huge thanks to them both for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of ‘The Wildflowers’. Here is my review:
The new novel by Sunday Times bestseller Harriet Evans will transport you to a Dorset beach house, where you can feel the sand between your toes. Enter the home of Tony and Althea Wilde – the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor of their generation and with a marriage every bit as stormy. This glorious tale of tangled family secrets and lies will leave you warm and glowing.
Tony and Althea Wilde. Glamorous, argumentative … adulterous to the core.
They were my parents, actors known by everyone. They gave our lives love and colour in a house by the sea – the house that sheltered my orphaned father when he was a boy.
But the summer Mads arrived changed everything. She too had been abandoned and my father understood why. We Wildflowers took her in.
My father was my hero, he gave us a golden childhood, but the past was always going to catch up with him … it comes for us all, sooner or later.
This is my story. I am Cordelia Wilde. A singer without a voice. A daughter without a father. Let me take you inside.
What does TWG think?
Where on Earth do I begin with this review? Wow.
First of all, let me start by saying how gorgeous the book cover is! The image has captured the storyline absolutely brilliantly, but of course you don’t realise the reference until after you have read the book!
‘The Wildflowers’ wasn’t an easy read, and by that I don’t mean that it was hard to understand, because it was. It wasn’t an easy read because the storyline describes various, hard-hitting situations in such incredible detail, the reality of such emotional times hit home something chronic. Not only that, the author had chosen a path for her characters which some readers may find a little hard to digest. ‘The Wildflowers’, as a fast reader myself, isn’t a book that you’ll be able to read without thinking. It takes time for this storyline to come alive, and for that you need to be patient and just go with the flow. I urge readers not to give up on this book as yes, it does take a little while for the story to get going, but it really is worth the wait. Please trust me on that.
‘The Wildflowers’ confused me at first because it wasn’t really clear when things were happening, especially as the storyline kept switching between various timelines and that clarity was a definite requirement. I knew that, because of the historical element to this book, the storyline would take a little while to get into as the author needed to set the scene with the various characters, as well as explain certain events which led characters to the place they are now. Patience isn’t my strong point where books are concerned, but deep down I knew that Harriet Evans wanted her story to bloom like a wild flower and that isn’t something that can be done over one or two chapters.
I shan’t give anything away, but I will say that I found myself getting a little emotional when certain things came to light. Even though certain characters chose their own path, I couldn’t help but feel a little empathy towards them because they must have been in such a dark place to warrant such drastic and devastating actions.
I really was able to lose myself in ‘The Wildflowers’ and the storyline which the author had so lovingly crafted, bringing it to life with such poise and poignancy. Everything about this book was raw, heart-wrenching, and severely dramatic – as a reader you have no time to think about anything other than the story you’re reading otherwise you’ll end up running to catch up with a character as they choose a different path on their journey.
I wanted to dislike some of the characters, really I did, but once all of the loose ends began to get tidied up, I just couldn’t find it in my heart to hate some of the characters who did so much wrong.
‘The Wildflowers’ got under my skin completely, and not in a bad way. Okay, I struggled with the first couple of chapters due to slight confusion, but once the ball started rolling, I couldn’t focus on anything else apart from the lives of Cord and Ben. Harriet Evans has written such a beautiful story which captures the essence of beauty, trust, loyalty, lies, death, and everything else in between. The author has left no stone unturned, yet has written about multiple hard-hitting themes with a lot of sensitivity, yet has also managed to keep them realistic and relatable.
If you feel like stepping out of your comfort zone, allowing yourself to be transported back to the 1940’s, I would recommend ‘The Wildflowers’ in a heartbeat. Such a gripping and devastatingly beautiful read which captivated my heart almost straight away.
Treat this book with the patience and kindness a flower deserves, even if they are ‘wildflowers’.