Hope you’re all having a great week. We’re in the middle of another spell of gorgeous weather in the UK which is making me very happy. It’s also my birthday week (yes, week) and although it’s August, I usually have a rainy birthday so I’m bouncing. The family and I are going to see The Lion King in the theatre this evening which I am very excited about. I’ll report back on how it is.
Thank you to @manilla_press and Inga Vesper for this advanced copy of This Wild Wild Country in return for an honest review. This Wild Wild Country was published on 4th August 2022 and you can get a copy here.
In 1933, Cornelia Stover lives in the small town of Boldville in New Mexico. She’s not the usual kind of lady found in the town. She’s head strong, independent and business minded. When she stumbles upon a secret up in the hills, things change for Cornelia drastically.
In 1970, Joanna isn’t in a good place. She’s an ex-police officer in an abusive marriage and when things go too far one evening, she jumps into her car and flees her home. She finds herself in Boldville at a small hotel where she thinks she can lay low for a while.
Whilst in Boldville, Joanna finds out that a young man died just the night before she arrived and the police officer in her can’t resist questioning what happened. She ends up on an investigation with local girl, Glitter, trying to find out what happened to Mike. What they end up finding out is that the town has covered many secrets over the decades and they are determined to unveil them.
General Thoughts 🤔
I’m struggling to make my mind up about this book. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the story and the general feeling of the book. Although it wasn’t technically Old West, it definitely had that vibe to it with some hippy seventies stuff thrown in there. I loved all of that and I think mostly because it’s different to something I would usually read. On the other hand, the story felt a little bit slow at times. I wanted to want to devour the book, but I found it difficult to keep my attention focused for long periods of time.
I loved that females dominated this book, especially as it was set in a time (both timelines) when females definitely weren’t considered equal. Glitter was probably my favourite character. I didn’t agree with her all of the time but I respected her. She was committed to her commune and wanted to create a peaceful and loving environment for her family, but I think that she let this cloud her judgement at times and overlooked certain things in the name of keeping the peace.
I felt the most sorry for Glitter’s mother. Though she didn’t feature in the book a lot, something about her made me feel really sad. She was the opposite to Glitter in that she focused a lot on what other people thought of her and was happy to bury her head under the sand, keep secrets secret and pretend that all is swell. I imagined that that must’ve been exhausting to carry around every single day.
Writing Style ✍️
I remember reading The Long, Long Afternoon and being swept away with the writing so I have to admit that this second book was just a touch of a disappointment for me personally. I didn’t feel as absorbed in the story and as I mentioned, I struggled to keep focused whilst reading.
However, I did very much enjoy the subject matter of this book. Again, I can appreciate how much research and digging (pun intended) would have gone into writing this book and I feel like this may be a special feature of Inga Vesper’s work. The way that she took me back in time and made me feel like I was in the mountains whilst also sucker punching me with social issues was sometimes quite special.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖
I started off this review by saying I couldn’t make my mind up about how I felt about this book and I’m finishing it a little bit more certain. I did enjoy this book and it did have a feeling about it unlike any book I’ve read before. Rather than trying to make it feel fast and exciting, I think I should have accepted it as a slower burn and purposely taken my time with it. It’s a book I think I would like to read again in the future and would likely have a very different experience.