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The Wild Girl

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  3,771 ratings  ·  718 reviews
Dortchen Wild fell in love with Wilhelm Grimm the first time she saw him.

Growing up in the small German kingdom of Hessen-Cassel in the early Nineteenth century, Dortchen Wild is irresistibly drawn to the boy next door, the young and handsome fairy tale scholar Wilhelm Grimm.

It is a time of war, tyranny and terror. Napoleon Bonaparte wants to conquer all of Europe, and He
Paperback, 538 pages
Published March 18th 2013 by Random House Australia (first published March 13th 2013)
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Alexandra It is not really a retelling. Its historical fiction, about how the Grimm brothers compiled their stories. It mainly focuses on the Wild girls, neighb…moreIt is not really a retelling. Its historical fiction, about how the Grimm brothers compiled their stories. It mainly focuses on the Wild girls, neighbors to the Grimm family. They tell stories to the Grimm brothers who are compiling them into a book and trying to get them published. (less)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,771 ratings  ·  718 reviews

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Karen Brooks
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I’ve taken a bit of time between reading and reviewing this book, partly because I wanted to absorb the dark beauty of this stark, moving and occasionally horrifying tale, and partly because I’d no choice. I was rendered not just speechless by this marvellous novel but, for a time, wordless too as I sought ways to describe the richness of Forsyth’s work, the wonderful layers that make up the tale of Dortchen Wild, a gregarious young girl who grows up in the small kingdom of Hessen-Kassel during ...more
Kim Wilkins
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
History is no backdrop in this richly imagined tale of the girl who gave the Grimm brothers some of their best stories. Rather, history is very much part of the viscerally felt foreground, as the napoleonic wars rage around and through the small kingdom of Hessen-Kassel. This is no "lite" romance with a bit of historical detail thrown about; it grapples quite seriously with how the lives of ordinary people, especially the poor or the marginalised, experience history as a material impact on their ...more
More often than not, I finish a book and settle down to write a review in order to organize my thoughts, make sense of the work I've just read, and waste a few more precious seconds lingering in a fictional world before waking up to reality. From time to time, however, review-writing is a cathartic experience; an effort to push the novel - the words, the characters, the setting - out of my blood stream and into the void, where it can no longer haunt my dreams and every waking thought. The Wild G ...more
Jenny Q
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copy
Giveaway @ Let Them Read Books!

I'd been waiting for so long to read this book, and it hooked me from page one. In fact, the prologue had me itching to turn to the last page to see how it ended, but I resisted! The story has an enchanting fairy-tale quality from the very beginning as we meet young Dortchen Wild, a precocious, starry-eyed, imaginative girl who revels in the beauty of nature and the transcendent quality of folk tales. The fifth of six girls born to a frail mother and an overbearing
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

The Wild Girl is a stunning tale of passion, love and war where history and imagination intertwine to create a wonderfully rich portrait of a woman whose contribution to the legend of the Grimm Brothers is finally acknowledged.

Dortchen Wild lives in the small kingdom of Hessen-Cassel in Germany in the early 1800's, as Napoleon Bonaparte marches across Europe. One of five daughters of an apothecary, her only relief from her father's tyranny comes from the rare occasions she can escape his attenti
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Wild girl is a haunting, bittersweet tale. Reading it is like spending an afternoon at home with a cup of tea while outside it's raining. The book itself has this nostalgic feeling to it, this bittersweet atmosphere of longing. It's a beautiful and yet sad book, filled with sorrow and longing, a tale of furtive glances, of interwined hands hidden from the others.
And at the same time, very much like a Grimm tale itself, The Wild girl is a tale that tells us about one of the worst acts of
I think that, by now, I can safely say that I just can't like Kate Forsyth in spite of the topics she chooses being catnip for me. Her handling of them is so poor because of the repetitive issues she runs into and that she seems to just not be able to help herself from falling into again and again.

This book's premise is to tell the story behind the storyteller who told the Brothers Grimm a good number of the fairy and folktales they included in their now famous collection. Or, more accurately, t
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I begged for a review copy of this novel knowing nothing about but that it was Kate Forsyth's newest. Forsyth wrote one of my 2013 top ten reads, Bitter Greens , and I will basically read anything she writes. My blind devotion was well rewarded with this one!

Set in the early 19th century, this novel follows Dortchen Wild, neighbor of the Grimm brothers -- yes, those Grimm brothers. One of a handful of daughters of a cruel apothecary, Dortchen has had feelings for Wilhelm Grimm, but a relation
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites

I love Kate Forsyth, she is amazing writer. I gobble up her stories like they are cake!!!

The Wild Girl is no exception, I devoured this story within two nights, I just pored myself over it. I really connected with the main character Dortchen Wild in so many ways, but especially her taste for life, her wild nature for adventure and the fierce way she loved.

Forsyth has a beautiful talent of revealing the history within the story without making it a history lesson, yet you can learn a whole lot. I
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a beautiful book, but also dark and left me with a very unpleasant feeling once I finished. This one will stick with me, I think. Not sure how to rate it because the writing was wonderful but at the same time I hated it.

Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved THE WILD GIRL! Simply loved it. Though she didn’t realise it the pressure was on for author Kate Forsyth because after recently reading Bitter Greens I had high very expectations. Expectations that were not only met but exceeded! When I first laid eyes on the book I was a bit overwhelmed, after all it is over 500 pages, it was huge. Then I opened the book and read “…Dortchen Wild fell in love with Wilhelm Grimm the first time she saw him…” and I was hooked, size and time had no meaning a ...more
Lisa - (Aussie Girl)
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
My first Kate Forsyth novel and it won't be my last. She has taken the idea of the woman behind the legend of the Brothers Grimm and expanded it through meticulous research into a tale as rich and nuanced as the fairy tales it's based on. And like all good fairy tales our heroine Dortchen Wild has to triumph over adversity and true evil to marry and have her Happily Ever After with the man of her dreams Wilhelm Grimm. What I also found interesting between the lines of story was the unpoken socia ...more
Cassandra Page
I finished The Wild Girl more than a week ago, but haven’t been able to review since it due to a massive book hangover. I’m also finding this review difficult to draft, so please excuse any incoherence on my part!

Like the last of Kate Forsyth’s books that I read (Dancing on Knives), The Wild Girl was a hard read. Not the prose — the prose was lovely — but the subject matter. This isn’t a fluffy romance between a scholar and the apothecary’s daughter. This is a gritty tale about the realities of
This was a Goodreads First Read that I got about a year ago - which just goes to show I should never be given nice things, because they'll sit there for far too long and when I finally get round to them I'll regret having waited so long. Is there anything more exciting than getting a hardback book in the post? I don't think so. Why didn't I pick this up? I have no idea.

It's a bit of a bipolar book - sometimes it's the adorable end of romance, sometimes shockingly dark all of a sudden. Sometimes
مروة الجزائري
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction readers
Once there were six sisters. The pretty one, the musical one, the clever one, the helpful one, the young one...And then there was the wild one. Dortchen Wild has loved Wilhelm Grimm since she was a young girl. Under the forbidding shadow of her father, the pair meet secretly to piece together a magical fairy tale collection. The story behind the stories of the Brothers Grimm.

It is a time of war, tyranny, and terror. Napoleon Bonaparte wants to conquer all of Europe, and Hessen-Cassel is one of t
This is a wonderful book! I would highly recommend it to everyone who is interested in fairy tales. It's well written, well researched historical fiction. I learned so much about the Grimms brothers, the time period they lived in and where they got their stories from! The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the love story between Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild dragged on a bit and got both tedious and painful to read. However had the author changed this in anyway it would have ...more
S.B. Wright
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Wild Girl is Kate Forsyth’s latest foray into the milieu of fairy tales. I have been eagerly awaiting its publication since finding out it was in the works in my interview with her last year It features the same attention to detail that fans of Bitter Greens enjoyed, that feeling of immersion in the past, created by a confident rendering of the tumultuous years surrounding Napoleon’s rise and fall.

Where the two books differ, however, is that The Wild Girlis a historical fiction, where Bitte
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Happy endings are only for fairy tales, Dortchen thought, stepping through to her father’s walled garden.’

Once upon a time, during the Napoleonic Wars, the Wild family lived in the medieval quarter of Cassel, next to members of the Grimm family. Dortchen Wild and Lotte Grimm were the same age, and became best friends.

The novel begins in December 1814: Napoleon is in exile, and Dortchen Wild’s father has died. Dortchen has good reason to dance for joy. Shortly after, Wilhelm Grimm, whom she firs
Elise McCune
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
THE WILD GIRL by Kate Forsyth is storytelling at its best. I enjoyed the richness of the words, the characters who were brought to life and the story which is about love and overcoming adversity. It is a blending of historical fact and fiction. Kate Forsyth has researched the events in the novel and in the afterword the author writes that she listened to the story within the stories that Gretchen told. This helped to plausibly fill in the blanks in Gretchen’s life.

From the back cover:
This was the story of Dörtchen Wild and Wilhelm Grimm (of the Grimm Brothers Fairytales). Set in the time of Napoleon Bonaparte’s seemingly unceasing conquests of Europe, and for all anyone else knew at that time, the whole of the world, it is a story of struggle for survival by the Wilds and the Grimms - neighbours in a little Prussian county.

Dörtchen (the 5th of 6 sisters) told Wilhelm a lot of the fairytales that he (and his brother Jakob) included in their book. The times they lived in were
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
March 13/2016:

This book was..beautiful. I need more time to gather my thoughts because they're all over the place.

Please keep in mind that this is an adult book. It had some pretty disturbing scenes to be honest. Not many but they were there.

Update: March 17/2016

I couldn't stop thinking about this book at all. I loved every minute of it, it felt like I was living with the characters. I could FEEL their pains and sorrows and desires and joy. I loved every single one of the Grimm brothers,
I wanted to give this four stars, because I really admire how well researched this book is and I understand that the author was working within the confines of historical fact. Unfortunately I just grew so frustrated with the heroine, when all her sisters were taking charge of their lives and she just went on being obedient and self sacrificing and even at the end she took forever to make up her mind. I understand the motivations and reasons behind it, but it seemed to go on forever. The heroine ...more
Rosemary Lauryn
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-so-great
I was not prepared for this book. The cover flap leads you to believe you're getting a love story with a little edge and some fairy tales thrown in. What you actually get is an incredibly slow love story that is very minor compared to the rest of the book which is also very slow and a traumatic tale of an abusive father (mental, physical, and sexual). An unpleasant surprise. ...more
Alex Morrison
I'm so excited for this I just paid over $30 in shipping charges to get this from Australia. My fingers are still crossed for a US publisher to take notice of the brilliance that is Kate Forsyth. ...more
Nov 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-read
This is a wonderfully written book however it was way to long and repeats itself. I still really enjoyed it and it is worth the read
Theresa Smith
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww2017
The Wild Girl is the story of Dortchen Wild, the girl who lived next door to the Grimm family; the girl who told her stories to the Grimm brothers who in turn published them as what we now know to be, 'Grimm's Fairytales'. She was beautiful and full of life, brimming with joy, in love with Wilhelm Grimm and ever hopeful that she would one day get her happy ever after with the young man of her dreams. 

"Wild by name and wild by nature."

Until she wasn't. Until she was broken and destroyed, a shell
Lauren K
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Once upon a time…

The Wild Girl is a fanciful tale of love, overcoming adversity and following one’s dreams by Australian author, Kate Forsyth. A historical saga that spans almost two decades during the early nineteenth century, a time when Jane Austen’s stories were set. Prior to reading this story I’d never heard of Dortchen Wild nor did I know much about the Grimm brothers.

In The Wild Girl, Kate Forsyth provides a well-researched and believable portrayal of young Dortchen Wild, the girl next
Sophie Masson
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Against an intricately-crafted tapestry of early nineteenth-century German daily life and tumultuous, tragic historical events, the story of star-crossed lovers Dortchen Wild and Wilhelm Grimm unfolds with a kind of dreamy, haunting precision. Dortchen, one of the younger daughters of a harsh, autocratic apothecary and his laudanum-addled wife, is a next door neighbour of the Grimms, a poor yet proud orphaned family and is good friends with the only Grimm girl, Lotte. (Interestingly, in a rather ...more
I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to read a novel by Australian author Kate Forsyth. I purchased Bitter Greens in 2012 after reading a number of glowing reviews but *shame face* it's still unread ... I won't be stupid twice ;)

The Wild Girl is an exquisite package, an epic tale of love, war and fairytales, impeccably researched, deftly layered and beautifully wrought. Kate, you hoped I'd be enchanted ... I truly was.

My copies of the Grimm Brothers fairytales from childhood are well loved an
Amy | littledevonnook
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Having never been interested in historical fiction I went into this novel feeling very skeptical - oh how wrong I was! After reading this stunning novel I shall definitely be sourcing out some more work from Forsyth and may even find some more historical fiction that may peak my interest.

Growing up in a household with six siblings, a sickly mother and an oppressive Father would be a nightmare for anyone but young Dortchen Wild takes it in her stride and comes out triumphant. This novel is told t
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 26, 2015 05:28AM  

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Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling author of 40 books for both adults and children.

Her books for adults include 'Beauty in Thorns', the true love story behind a famous painting of 'Sleeping Beauty'; 'The Beast's Garden', a retelling of the Grimm version of 'Beauty & the Beast', set in the German underground resistance to Hitler in WW

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