Thursday 31 March 2022

Book Review: Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May book cover

AD* | 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 neighbour.

Mysterious and alluring, Emmeline Delacroix is a figure shadowed by rumours 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.

Immersive and deeply descriptive, Wild and Wicked Things is a beautifully written historical fantasy.

Before we get into the review, I read that Wild and Wicked Things is a retelling of The Great Gatsby - though obviously, with plenty of fresh twists! As I haven't read Gatsby myself, I can only review the book on its own merit as I won't pick up on any references, differences or similarities. Side note, I know I should really have read Gatsby by now, but there are so many classics I've still yet to read! Regardless, I still felt it was worth mentioning here for you, dear reader.

Wild and Wicked Things focuses on the lives of three women whose fates become inextricably entwined. Annie is a naive young woman who arrives on Crow Island following her father's death. Tasked with clearing his home and organising his estate, Annie soon reconnects with her childhood best friend, Beatrice. 

Bea has shed the shackles of her humdrum past and now enjoys a life of luxury with her handsome new husband. However, it isn't long before Annie starts to see cracks in the armour Bea has built around herself.

Both Annie and Bea find themselves drawn back time and again to the mysterious, grandiose house next door to Annie's rented cottage on the island. The house is run by the enigmatic Emmeline, a young woman who throws decadent parties every weekend. Locals say Emmeline practices real magic at her parties. Annie and Bea are about to find out what really happens behind closed doors at Cross House.

The setting of this book is gorgeous, although the world-building wasn't as detailed as I would have liked. The idea of the magical Crow Island is entrancing, but there wasn't a lot of explanation for much of the magic in the book. Some of the characters were also difficult to like - but somehow, that only adds to the charm of the book. 

Although it didn't blow me away as much as I'd hoped, Wild and Wicked Things is an intoxicating novel of magic, desire, and opulence. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel!

Rating: 3 stars

Wild and Wicked Things is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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