Thursday 21 July 2022

The Wilderness by Sarah Duguid BLOG TOUR #TheWilderness @SarahDuguid4 @TinderPress @RandomTTours #BookReview


When Anna and David receive a phone call late one evening, their lives are upturned. Within minutes, they are travelling to the west coast of Scotland, preparing to care for two young sisters, tragically and suddenly orphaned.

It's a beautiful place, the heather is in bloom, the birds wheel above the waves, the deer graze peacefully in the distance. But the large granite house is no longer a home for the girls, and Anna knows she can never take the place of their mother. Then David invites his friend to stay, to 'ease them through' and Anna finds herself increasingly isolated, with everything she - and the girls - once knew of life discarded and overruled by a man of whom she is deeply suspicious.

The Wilderness by Sarah Duguid is published today (21 July 2022) by Tinder Press. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

It is almost seven years ago since I read Sarah Duguid's debut novel; Look At MeI absolutely loved that book and the author's sparse but magical prose. I've been looking forward to The Wilderness for a long time.

Anna and David live a conventional life in London. With two adult sons, David has been contemplating retirement whilst Anna continues to keep house, just as she's done throughout their relationship. Her family make fun of her hostess trolley and her neat and tidy house, but she's happy, in her own way. 

One phone call turns that life upside down. David's brother and his wife have been killed and he and Anna are named legal guardians to their two teenage daughters. Making the long journey up to a remote Scottish island gives Anna time to im
agine what lies ahead, whilst David barely deals with his grief.

Whilst Anna does remember signing the papers many years ago, agreeing to take care of Isabella and Sasha, she'd never imagined that it would actually happen.

The large, cold, stone house on the isolated island is so far away from Anna's home comforts and when David announces that they cannot uproot the girls, and in fact, they will move themselves to Scotland, she is horrified

David and Anna's long-term friend, Brandon is invited to stay with them. With teaching experience, it is thought that he can help with dealing with the distraught girls who are suddenly orphans, have always been home schooled and in comparison to city teenagers are somewhat naive and introverted. 

Sarah Duguid has such a skill in weaving together a story that is both evocative and dark. There's a sense of tension that rises throughout the narrative, as the reader, and Anna realise that Brandon's behaviour is strange with dubious intent. The house, and the island become characters in themselves as this talented author beautifully incorporates the beauty and desolation of both into the haunting and dramatic story. 

This is a study in grief and relationships, it is beautifully evocative with a darkness that lurks and eventually floods the story. Highly recommended by me. 

Sarah Duguid grew up on a farm in North Lincolnshire and now lives in London. 

The Wilderness is her second novel.

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