I’ve been eschewing blog tours where possible this year to try to avoid taking on too much but when Anne of Random Things Tours told me she was organising a tour for Carol Lovekin’s Wild Spinning Girls, I simply had to take part. You see, Carol’s book Snow Sisters, reviewed here, was my book of the year in 2017 and I’m thrilled to have the chance to read her again today.
Wild Spinning Girls
If it wasn’t haunted before she came to live there, after she died, Ty’r Cwmwl made room for her ghost. She brought magic with her.
And the house, having held its breath for years, knew it. Ida Llewellyn loses her job and her parents in the space of a few weeks and, thrown completely off course, she sets out for the Welsh house her father has left her. Ty’r Cwmwl is not at all welcoming despite the fact it looks inhabited, as if someone just left..
It is being cared for as a shrine by the daughter of the last tenant. Determined to scare off her old home’s new landlord, Heather Esyllt Morgan sides with the birds who terrify Ida and plots to evict her. The two girls battle with suspicion and fear before discovering that the secrets harboured by their thoughtless parents have grown rotten with time. Their broken hearts will only mend once they cast off the house and its history, and let go of the keepsakes that they treasure like childhood dreams.
My Review of Wild Spinning Girls
Ida’s trip to her birth place in Wales brings more than she anticipated.
I don’t want to review Wild Spinning Girls because I fear whatever I might say won’t convey adequately enough how fantastic Carol Lovekin’s latest book is and my attempts might sully its perfection.
Wild Spinning Girls is a magical book, not just because of the mysticism within the story, but because of the poetic, natural and lyrical quality of the prose. It is luminous with meaning, and with beautifully conveyed understanding of female relationships that touch the very soul of the reader. Wild Spinning Girls absolutely vibrates with emotion. I loved the imagery, the portents and omens, as well as all the more prosaic elements that weave into this narrative making it a glorious, affecting story.
The plot is deceptively simple as Ida returns to Ty’r Cwmwl, the Cloud House, where she was born and finds herself in conflict with the troublesome Heather. However, to say there is simplicity in Wild Spinning Girls is akin to saying a diamond is only a collection of carbon bonds. Carol Lovekin refracts simplicity into other-worldliness, creating an atmosphere that rings with meaning and ensnares the reader. I was utterly captivated.
The characters in Wild Spinning Girls are heart-rendingly realistic, and I include Ty’r Cwmwl and surrounding landscape as a character, so that there is an intensity that mesmerises. I loved how Carol Lovekin shows that those who are absent, like Ida’s parents, Heather’s unknown father and her mother Olwen, can shape and influence us way beyond the end of their mortal lives with an unbreakable reach, because it is as if all history, as far back as the dawn of time, is here between the pages of this outstanding book. I felt a genuine connection to them all, but especially Olwen who is simultaneously flawed and sublime.
The emotion in the book is so strong that I found reading the conversations between Ida and Heather felt almost wrong, as if I were intruding, by being party to an aspect of their hearts they might not want me to witness. Indeed, Wild Spinning Girls has such a rich seam of emotion that it isn’t a story so much as a glimpse into very fibre of humanity that leaves the reader reeling. Carol Lovekin’s words spoke to the very core of me. I envisage them remaining with me always, and I’m glad of it.
Universal themes of love and hate, betrayal and loyalty, family and friends, ambition and acceptance swirl through the pages but the aspect I found most compelling was Carol Lovekin’s exploration of belonging and what makes home, home. There’s such maturity and depth in Wild Spinning Girls that I revelled in its reading because it somehow made me feel as if I belong. It’s no exaggeration to say I felt a physical connection to the people and places in Wild Spinning Girls that I can’t explain. It’s as if reading this book has given me a new centre of gravity that was missing from my life.
Being unable to articulate completely how special this book is, let me just say that beautiful, ethereal and haunting, Wild Spinning Girls is utterly wonderful. I adored it. Anyone who has yet to read Carol Lovekin is missing out on a truly sensational experience. She is an author with magic in her writing whose words enhance the lives of those who read her. Don’t miss Wild Spinning Girls.
About Carol Lovekin
Carol is a writer, feminist and flâneuse. Her home is in beautiful West Wales, a place whose legends and landscape inform her writing. She writes contemporary fiction threaded with elements of magic.
Ghostbird, her first novel, was released on 17th March 2016. The book was chosen as Waterstones Wales and Welsh Independent Bookshops ‘Book Of The Month’ for April 2016. It was longlisted for the Guardian ‘Not the Booker’ prize 2016 and nominated for the Guardian Readers’ Book of the Year 2016. Snow Sisters was her second book.