Today’s book review is for Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May, a gloriously dark and sapphic story set following the first World War in a Gatsby-inspired town.
It’s full of mysteries and if you enjoy 1920s aesthetics and witchcraft then this is definitely one for you to pick up!
Read on for my full review.
About the Book
Title: Wild and Wicked Things
Author: Francesca May
Release Date: March 31st 2022 (UK)
Source: Physical ARC gifted from the publisher (this in no way affects my review which is honest and unbiased)
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.
Wild and Wicked Things is centred around the events that unfold when Annie moves to Crow Island to sort out her estranged late fathers’ affairs, with a few flashbacks to things that happened when her old best friend, Bea, moved to the island. It’s an adult book with some heavy content, including murder, rape suggestions and a lot of manipulation, which is something to bear in mind.
Fairly early into the story, Annie meets her mysterious neighbour Emmeline and is pretty much instantly drawn to them. I loved watching the two grow closer, and it was definitely my favourite thing to have both of their perspectives throughout.
The story doesn’t really have a set “baddie”, instead it’s full of morally grey characters both in the past and present who are all dealing with some kind of PTSD. It’s set straight after the first World War and Annie normally lives with her mother in Whitby, her main reasoning for going to Crow Island is for the inheritance money but she can’t help but be drawn in to the high society life around her. It seems mostly like escapism, as she was engaged to her best friend Sam before he died in the war, and it’s clear she feels almost guilty in a way as she couldn’t find herself capable of giving him the romantic love.
All of that makes sense as she’s drawn to Emmeline though, and their connection through magic almost seems to be a metaphor for their romantic love at times.
Bea though. Honestly, I don’t think we’re supposed to like Bea. I felt sorry for her, a lot, and there was a time I was very worried for her… but the more I learned about her the more she came across as very manipulative. But her actions are the result of being grief-stricken. I didn’t like her, but I understood why she acted in the way she did, and I think this alone shows the strength of May’s storytelling.
And I have to say, a Gatsby-style setting for this book is perfect. Everything moulds together in a way that makes sense and if you like the roaring 20s and witchcraft then your heart will definitely be happy with this book.
Overall, Emmeline’s character stood out the most to me in this book. Annie is adorable and will do what it takes to keep those around her safe, but Emmeline is such a strong character and they have this adorable little found family with Nathan and Isobel.
Are you planning to read this book?
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