If you are looking for a novel steeped in atmosphere then look no further…
Let me introduce you to Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin.
I am thrilled to be on the Blog Tour for this unique and special book, one which grabs you from the first and pulls you in, weaving it’s spell gently but very definitely through each page. Huge thanks to Honno Press and Anne Cater for my gifted copy and the opportunity to be on the tour.
This novel starts with grief and loss. Ida is 29 and her world has turned,quite suddenly, upside down. Just weeks after losing her job in the local book shop, she suddenly and unexpectedly loses both parents.
Although Ida is grieving for both parents, it is the loss of her mother which affects her most profoundly. Her mother, Anna, was her idol. A famous and talented dancer, she was everything that Ida has aspired to be. Without her she feels untethered, lost.
But as much as Anna was a source of inspiration for her daughter, she was also a source of guilt and regret. For it was in her mother’s plan that Ida should follow in her footsteps, but an injury, for which Ida stills blames herself, scuppered these plans. It quickly becomes clear that even before the loss of her parents and her job, Ida is a soul at sea. She is trapped in regret and disappointment, looking to find herself and in denial about who she truly is and what she desires in her life.
The catalyst for change comes in the form of Ty’r Cwnwl or Cloud House, the remote Welsh property that her father, David, has left her in his will. Feeling cut off from the rest of her life, unsure which direction to turn, Ida heads to the house, unsure of what she will find and the decisions she will make.
Ida’s early childhood was spent in the house, but her memories are sketchy at best and she remembers little beyond fleeting images and her mother’s dislike for the property.
She arrives expecting to find the house empty, and she is shocked to come face to face with Heather, a fiery teenage girl, who lets herself into the house on Ida’s second morning there. Heather feels strongly that the house is part of her heritage. She too is grieving, her mother Olwen , tenant of Ty’r Cwnwl, having recently died.
Olwen was seen as a local wise woman. In tune with the elements, knowledgeable about plants and their medicinal properties, she is another strong matriarch. Heather believes that she is connected to the house in mystical ways. She too wants to live up to her mother’s expectations and is fighting her way through her grief.
Heather, the house and it’s surroundings all seem to belong to a different time. They are bound up in mysticism and magic. The dark birds that surrounding the property seem to Ida to be malevolent. One room particularly seems infused with the spirit of Olwen. Here there is a locked bureau, the smell of apples pervades the air and the temperature is unreliable.
Ida is so trapped by her grief she is unable even to dream. The exact opposite to the wild, untamed Heather, Ida struggles to come to terms with her new life, surroundings and next steps in her life.
Thrown together by circumstance the two women’s relationship develops along an uncertain and fractured path. Both are looking for answers, and both will be shocked by the secrets that the house slowly reveals.
This is a story that is beautifully told. The language and imagery is evocative, creating a real and at times painful representation of grief and self discovery.
The prose is lyrical but grounded in reality. There is that very familiar sense attached to grief of moving two steps forward only to pulled backwards again by a misplaced word or memory.
The novel also a celebration of the strength and wisdom of women. This is portrayed not only through the two key characters of Ida and Heather, but through the community of women that surround them. The strength of the female voices carry forward the theme of self discovery and acceptance. It is infused with the sense of women building each other, helping to each other to face truths and grow.
Wild Spinning Girls is a beautiful treat of a novel. It is insightful, thought provoking and skilfully crafted. The premise is a simple but powerful one; it is the beauty of self discovery and healing.
A magical gem of a novel!
Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin is published on 20th February by Honno and can be purchased here
And there is more…
There are many more fantastic bloggers just waiting to tell how fabulous Wild Spinning Girls is! Check out the remainder of the blog tour! Dates below!