The Wild Girl

The Wild Girl

The Wild Girl

by Kate Forsyth

Vintage, $32.95 pb, 539 pp, 9781741668490

In the German kingdom of Hessen-Cassel, twelve-year-old Dortchen Wild falls in love with her scholarly neighbour Wilhelm Grimm amid the turbulent lead-up to the Napoleonic Wars. When Wilhelm and his brother Jakob undertake the task of collecting folk and fairy tales to preserve their national heritage, Dortchen becomes a willing source and participant, telling Wilhelm many of the stories that will become the Grimm brothers’ most famous ones. The romance between Dortchen and Wilhelm unfolds gently as Dortchen matures into womanhood. But no fairy tale is complete without a wicked stepmother or an impenetrable briar wood, and so it is with The Wild Girl. Her bright hopes are thwarted both by Wilhelm’s desperate poverty, and by the malevolent shadow of her own father, which soon coalesces into a reality of violence and abuse.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

More in this issue « Floodline Zac & Mia »
Published in November 2013 no. 356

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.