Lately a TON of the books that I’ve been reading have been published by Orbit, which is one of my favorite publishers! They’ve been putting out so many great books lately, and I’m thinking that the next full review I write will be yet another Orbit release! This particular book is published by Orbit’s imprint, Redhook.
Wild and Wicked Things
by Francesca May
Release date: March 29th 2021
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
In the aftermath of World War I, a naive woman is swept into a glittering world filled with dark magic, romance, and murder in this lush and decadent debut.
On Crow Island, people whisper, real magic lurks just below the surface.
Neither real magic nor faux magic interests Annie Mason. Not after it stole her future. She’s only on the island to settle her late father’s estate and, hopefully, reconnect with her long-absent best friend, Beatrice, who fled their dreary lives for a more glamorous one.
Yet Crow Island is brimming with temptation, and the biggest one may be her enigmatic new neighbor.
Mysterious and alluring, Emmeline Delacroix is a figure shadowed by rumors of witchcraft. And when Annie witnesses a confrontation between Bea and Emmeline at one of the island’s extravagant parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where the boundaries of wickedness are tested, and the cost of illicit magic might be death.
This is a Gatsby-inspired witchy story, and it definitely fits that vibe! The writing is beautiful, and the characters are complex. If you’re at all familiar with The Great Gatsby, you’ll see a lot of nods to the original story within this story.
This is a very character driven story, following Annie and Emmeline as the two main POV’s. Annie visits Crow Island to sort out her father’s belongings after he passes away, and is almost instantly drawn to Emmeline, the witch next door. Emmeline has a pretty dark and tragic backstory which means that she has a pretty hard time getting close to anyone and letting anyone help her.
I found the characters interesting, although they did frustrate me with the choices they made and I wasn’t always a fan of them. There is also a lot of LGBTQ+ rep within this book, including lesbian main characters and a bisexual side characters.
It took me a lot longer than I would’ve liked to have realized that this is an alternate history where WWI was a magical war, although it wasn’t really clear what exactly that war was, it was kind of hinted at what that war was and how it impacted the world. I also wanted a little bit more about Annie’s father and what exactly he was involved in.
The pacing of this was also very slow, although at times there was a lot going on and the atmosphere made it a fun read. Definitely an interesting book, and since I liked the writing I’ll definitely check out whatever Francesca May writes next!
Will you be reading Wild and Wicked Things? I’d love to chat!