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The Wilding

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  633 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Jonathan Dymond, a 26-year old cider-maker in post-Civil War England, has enjoyed a quiet, harmonious existence until a letter arrives from his uncle with a request to speak with his father. When his father returns from the visit the next day, all he can say is that Jonathan's uncle has died. Then Jonathan finds a fragment of the letter, with talk of inheritance and vengea ...more
Paperback, 337 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Faber & Faber (first published February 4th 2010)
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Aug 27, 2016 Kirsty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: august-2016
I purchased this because I have seen it around rather a lot lately, and one of my favourite bloggers (Jane at Beyond Eden Rock) gave it a four-star rating. For me, The Wilding was rather a slow starter. After reading many of the reviews of McCann's As Meat Like Salt, I was expecting that her prose would blow me away, but I was left a little disappointed by it. There was nothing wrong with her writing, per se, but it just didn't tick many boxes for me.

Oddly, there was no real sense of history fo
Apr 24, 2010 Charles rated it really liked it
A well-researched, neatly constructed, beautifully written book that takes potentially Catherine Cookson material and turns it into an examination of truth, social constriction and responsibility. I've given it four stars on that basis. So why, after As Meat Loves Salt, was I disappointed? Perhaps because the novel felt almost too well-made and in control of itself, whereas the previous novel seemed to be struggling to contain what it was saying, and not saying. I'm haunted by scenes in that boo ...more
Stefan Bachmann
Nov 10, 2015 Stefan Bachmann rated it it was amazing
The cover and description make this book look like a frothy, summery historical fiction read, but it's really quite dark and sad, and there're twists and family secrets galore, and the faintest shades of old English superstitions and witchcraft, and it all kind of felt like a Gothic novel to me, just 1672-style. So obviously I loved it.

I think if you liked The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton this book would probably be right up your alley. The writing's much less flashy, but I liked it more.

Dec 02, 2010 Jane rated it really liked it
An odd one this.

The setting is wonderful. Rural England in 1672.

The period, just a few decades after the Civil War, with the effects still being felt and the country still unsettled, comes wonderfully to life.

As does the real countryside. Rustic, beautiful, but also tough and grubby. You really do feel that you can see, hear, feel, touch, taste …

And the plot held great promise.

Jonathan Dymond works as a cider-maker, travelling from orchard to orchard to make a living.

A rather gauche young man. H
Mar 19, 2013 Dolors rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
The Wilding is one of those novels that grabs your attention while reading it but which, in my case, doesn't leave track.

England, 1672 after the Civil War. Jonathan discovers part of a letter addressed to his father from his recently deceased uncle. Secrets covered for years start coming to surface when he decides to visit her widowed aunt and learn more about his uncle and his family's past.
Attracted irrationally towards one of the maids, Tamar, Joanathan has to face some truths he might not be
Sheenagh Pugh
Feb 18, 2010 Sheenagh Pugh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
"As Meat Loves Salt" was not only a great novel, it happened to push all my personal buttons - 17th-century setting, totally unreliable narrator, my favourite brand of eroticism - so I approached this one with some trepidation that it might disappoint what were necessarily high hopes. It didn't.

Jonathan Dymond, the narrator-protagonist, couldn't be more different from her last narrator: he is almost too honest for his own good. His parents Matthew and Barbara are even more so, an unusually succe
Jonathan Dymond is a young gentleman with no cares, who makes a living by taking his unique portable cider-press round the countryside, and pressing cider apples. When a note comes to his father from his dying uncle, things change. His father arrives to late to hear his Uncle's last wishes, and is willing to let it be forgotten. But Jonathan finds a scrap of the note that hints of dark secrets, and is plagued by nightmares of his Uncle. So our protagonist finds himself driven to investigate the ...more
Oct 16, 2010 Helen rated it really liked it
The Wilding is set in England in 1672, just after the end of the Civil War. Our narrator is Jonathan Dymond, a young man who works as a cider-maker. Jonathan lives with his loving parents and leads a quiet, happy life, travelling around the neighbouring villages with his mobile cider-press. But when Jonathan's father receives a mysterious letter from his dying brother, Jonathan grows suspicious and decides to visit his uncle's widow to investigate. At his Aunt Harriet's house he meets Tamar, one ...more
Apr 01, 2010 Beadyjan rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
What a lovely easy read and very well written.

The Wilding is written in the first person by a young man called Johnathan who resides in 17th century England and earns his living as a cider presser, travelling around hiring his services with his unique portable cider press lovingly made and given to him by his father.

When his fathers brother Robin dies Johnathan senses there is a mystery surrounding the circumstances of his death which is father is unwilling to discuss, so decides to visit his wi
Oct 21, 2010 Blair rated it it was ok
I just don't really have very much to say about this book. It was... alright. Certainly not the worst thing I've read this year, but I can't think of anything particularly positive to say about it either. Perhaps I've read too much historical fiction in which terrible torments are visited upon the characters, but nothing Jonathan went through seemed particularly dramatic or exciting, at least not until the final quarter of the book. His fretting about the possibility of Tamar being his cousin wa ...more
Oct 17, 2011 Amber rated it it was amazing
This book started a little slow, though maybe I only felt that way because my life was very busy and it was hard to find the time to really get into a new book. After the first 50 pages or so though I was completely hooked! Interesting characters and an intriguing plot that left me guessing to the bitter end. Wonderfully crafted and some beautiful expressions this really is a masterpiece of literature.
Although beautifully written, this was, in my opinion, a slow-moving, depressing story. The characters were very well depicted and interesting but I thought Jonathan fretted too much and too often about his possible wrong-doings. I liked the ending very much though.
Mar 25, 2010 Anne rated it really liked it
Historical fiction is not my first choice of genre and at first I admit that it took me while to adapt to the language style in The Wilding, but once into the story, the style became easier and more flowing and overall, just added to the sense of time and place in what is a very cleverly written novel.

Jonathan Dymond is the only child of fairly well-off parents, living quite comfortably and earning extra money as a cider presser - he is known locally as Cider Rat and is very proud to be the owne
Dec 25, 2016 Masha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2-017
I loved this book. Will look out for this author.
Jul 30, 2011 Phanee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 8/10

The Wilding is a rather odd book. Set in England in the 17th century, a few years after the Civil War, the story begins by introducing us to Jonathan Dymond, a young cider maker. Right at the beginning of the novel, Jonathan and his family find out that Jonathan's uncle Robin is not well, so his father hastens to his bedside. But, because of the fact that he chooses to go on foot, by the time he reaches the nearby village (where Robin and his wife live), it is already too late. Soon
It sometimes surprises me what I remember about a book, a few days or weeks or maybe months after I've read it. In the best-case-scenario I obviously remember basically everything. In the worst-case-scenario, I remember virtually nothing. And then there's three different possibilities for all the books in between.

I might remember the characters. Not here though, Jonathan is interesting and he fits well with his time, but I wouldn't want to spend too much time with him either. The rest of the ca
Aug 11, 2012 Michalyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, fiction, 2012
I'm still haunted by As Meat Loves Salt so when I found out that Maria McCann had written another book, I had to get my hands on it.

Jon Dymond is a young cider-maker who has led a life of ease and prosperity. The only child of loving parents, he has wanted for nothing. Like the cider he presses, his life has been a stream of clear and golden sweetness and he has little inkling of the darker side of the world. All of this changes when a letter from his dying uncle summons his father to his bedsi
Reader, I Read It
Oct 22, 2010 Reader, I Read It rated it really liked it
It is 17th Century England, after the nightmare of the Civil War life starts returning to normality for its people. After living a quiet life with his parents, Matthew and Barbara, Jonathan Dymond’s world is about to become a little less stable. After the news of his Uncle Robin’s death Jonathan finds remains of a destroyed letter written by Robin hoping to put right the wrongs of his past before his death. Intrigued at what secrets could exist in his family’s past Jonathan sets out to his Aunty ...more
Apr 06, 2012 Nisareen rated it really liked it
A well-researched, neatly constructed, beautifully written book set in rural England, during the dark days after the civil war in 1672. It’s about a young cider maker, Jonathon Dymond and his quest to find the truth about his family after he discovers the partial remains of a letter his dying uncle had sent his father. Intrigued by the mention of "reparation" and "a vicious wench", he decides to investigate and sets off to see his hostile widowed Aunt Harriet under the guise of pressing her appl ...more
Olivia Kienzel
Nov 09, 2013 Olivia Kienzel rated it really liked it
Not as strong as her debut novel, As Meat Loves Salt, but that first book stands head and shoulders above most I've read in my life, so that should not be taken too seriously. This novel, too, stuck with me, especially some of the details about the social rules in place (for women in particular) at this time in history, and the serious consequences for appearing to be in breach of those rules.
Maria McCann is a truly gifted writer and scrupulous researcher. I have to admit I'm a real fan of histo
Well... add me to the list of people who thought this was disappointing next to As Meat Loves Salt, but who nonetheless count it as a fine read. Meticulous plotting and painstaking characterization. And McCann writes so beautifully. Even if this book weren't rich and dark and twisted and utterly believable all the way to the end, it would be worth reading.

"The world is full of these goassamer threads ... tying the present to the past; once perceived, they breed and multiply in the mind.

"No matt
Sarah-Kate Lynch
Feb 13, 2014 Sarah-Kate Lynch rated it it was amazing
Fans of apple cider will know that some of the best comes from Somerset in England’s West Country, which is where this riveting novel is set.

And if “cider” and “riveting” don’t usually go hand in hand it is testament to Maria McCann’s significant skill that she has made it so and set her intriguing story in the 17th Century to boot.

Jonathan Dymond is 26 years old, a good son to doting parents, and a bit of a geek when it comes to turning apples into cider. His idea of fun is loading up his mobil
Aug 19, 2013 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, w, female-author
Although I enjoyed this book I had got it into my head that it was going to be some kind of haunting/ghost story and it wasn’t. It was a story about a family and how the secrets that they can have will cause problems and issues in the future. Some serious topics from murder to incest were covered in the story, and the end few chapters held a couple of surprises in which I wasn’t expecting. Some aspects could have been covered in more depth and I would like to have heard more about witch hunting ...more
Jo Barton
Apr 08, 2010 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing
Told with a meticulous eye for historical detail The Wilding is the story of a young man and his quest to find the truth about his family. Set in rural England in 1672 and in the dark days after the civil war, we are introduced to a family alive with treachery and secrets. Reminiscent of a darker time when malevolence and chicanery could influence a family for generations, Jonathan Dymond uses his cider making enterprise to ingratiate himself with an aunt who has the answer to some of their fami ...more
Linda Thompson
Oct 11, 2013 Linda Thompson rated it really liked it
I approached this for my book group read with no real enthusiasm as I'm not really a fan of historical novels. However, although it is set after the Civil War and just into the Restoration, it is very much centred on the characters and their story,and written in modern speech, and the events take place over just a few months, so that it didn't feel like an historical novel at all.

This is a story, not so much of a rite of passage as of the loss of innocence, with apples , fresh and decaying, as a
Mar 31, 2015 rubywednesday rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
This was far better than I expected. After seeing a lot of reviews that said it was disappointing compared to As Meat Loves Salt I didn't have high expectations for this book. Certainly, it wasn't quite as special but it was a very good book in its own right.

The writing and setting is kind of gently hypnotic? Very pastoral, very earnest, very soothing. Jonathan is a total wet blanket of a narrator and person but after a while that becomes endearing. He and his family are good and pure in a rare
Dec 31, 2009 Ali rated it it was ok
I received this novel to review from the Librarything early reviewers programme. This novel is due to be published February 2010.

Set in the 17th century, a generation after the civil war, this
novel tells the story of a young cider maker. After discovering the partial remailns of a letter his dying uncle had sent his father, Jonathan Dymond sets out to discover secrets which lie at the heart of his own family. As a cider maker Johnathan travels from village to village pressing apples, using his
Jul 08, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gone, take-a-chance
Nearly half way through I nearly abandoned this book. I'm glad I didn't because the rest was well put together and captured my interest back. Difficult to articulate quite what I don't like about this book - there is something unwholesome about the narrator and I think the problem is that while the author is deliberately painting a picture of a flawed character, the author fails to understand quite how morally unlikable he is. The author thinks 'flawed but with a lot of good points' while I thin ...more
Aug 18, 2013 Niffer rated it really liked it
This book was more different to what I expected, but I was not disappointed. I think had I read it in bigger 'chunks' rather than a couple of chapters at a time during lunch breaks and before bed (although I did stay up late to finish it) I would have guessed a couple of things, as I generally can see a plot 'twist' a mile off. However in this case I was caught by surprise, which was nice, haha!
Each character stayed true to themselves, and the plot did not veer off into the fantastical, whilst s
Aug 23, 2011 Bowerbird rated it liked it
I really don't know whether to give this book 4 stars or just 3 stars. It is set just after the English Civil War and locals are still living with the consequences. Senses of time and place are wonderfully constructed. Jonathan's journeys through the countryside as he goes about his business of cider-making have real authenticity. The author portrays his task with vivid clarity. Maybe it is because I am able to believe totally in the setting that I feel the plot is at times slightly less credibl ...more
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Maria McCann is an English novelist. She was born in Liverpool in 1956 and worked as a lecturer in English at Strode College, Street, Somerset since 1985, until starting work with Arden.

Her first novel, As Meat Loves Salt, was released in 2001. The story focuses on the relationship of two men, Jacob Cullen and Christopher Ferris, and is set during the English Civil War. They desert their posts in
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“There had been a frozen mist here, and the trees were spun into feathers. Their fragile brilliance made me wonder why, into the spotlessness of Creation, God had seen fit to introduce soiling, twisting, rampaging, Man.” 2 likes
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