Book Review: Wildwing by Emily Whitman

I don’t know about you, but one of the main reasons I love reading is the escape it provides from my everyday life. A book can transport me to another world, envelope me in a story and let me get away for a few hundred wonderful pages.

With Wildwing by Emily Whitman, the escape is twofold — because in this case, both the reader and the protagonist find themselves transported to another world.

Wildwing tells the story of reluctant housekeeper Addy — who feels shortchanged by her lot in life as the bastard child of a single woman living in 1913 England. But her droll and drab life is soon changed dramatically when she travels back in time to the 13th century, where she is mistaken for the ward of a wealthy and powerful lord.

But Addy soon learns that life as a pampered princess isn’t all she’s fantasized about … especially when her forbidden romance with the Falconer’s son threatens the precarious life she’s established for herself. Soon, she must make some difficult decisions — about her life; her future; and her role in the past.

Wildwing is escapist fantasy at its very best. It has all those elements that satisfy us, as readers, at our very simplest — adventure, intrigue, forbidden romance. But Whitman tells it all in a unique way, without making it feel contrived or trivialized.

I especially loved the way Whitman managed to masterfully weave together the two time periods. It’s not just a story about traveling back in time; there are layers to the story that unfold like petals on a flower, each one delicate and beautiful individually — but even more perfect when combined.

I also have a particular fondness for the time machine itself — a contraption that feels as if it came right out of an H.G. Wells novel, or maybe Jules Verne. It’s like a tiny little dose of Steampunk inserted into the middle of this historical fantasy.

And while Wildwing is, at its very heart, a romance — it’s also a story about embracing yourself and making your own happiness — rather than waiting on others to create happiness for you.

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