If it wasn’t haunted before she came to live there, after she died, Ty’r Cwmwl made room for her ghost. She brought magic with her.
And the house, having held its breath for years, knew it. Ida Llewellyn loses her job and her parents in the space of a few weeks and, thrown completely off course, she sets out for the Welsh house her father has left her. Ty’r Cwmwl is not at all welcoming despite the fact it looks inhabited, as if someone just left…
It is being cared for as a shrine by the daughter of the last tenant. Determined to scare off her old home’s new landlord, Heather Esyllt Morgan sides with the birds who terrify Ida and plots to evict her. The two girls battle with suspicion and fear before discovering that the secrets harboured by their thoughtless parents have grown rotten with time. Their broken hearts will only mend once they cast off the house and its history, and let go of the keepsakes that they treasure like childhood dreams.
If you love a historical epic, then Wild Spinning Girls might be your new favourite read. I love books that carry me across time, weaving skilfully between the past and the present and Carol Lovekin manages this superbly, leading us between the past and present of Ty’r Cwmwl and allowing yourself to immerse yourself in the history and present day intrigues of the House of Clouds
I love books that transport me in time and place and I read this during the turbulent stormy weather that we’ve just had across our half term break – totally losing myself in the welsh scenery as Carol Lovekin’s fantastic sense of place is so deftly realised in this immersive read.
But even beautiful Ty’r Cwmwl is no refuge from the past and now in the present day, Ida has to face up to things that she might prefer to forget. Her new tenant – Heather Esyllt Morgan is a wonderfully realised character and you will feel like you are there with them as they circle one another in this battle for possession of their domain.
This book is set in two very diverting periods and I felt that they were both drawn with equal attention to detail and I happily moved between them in the novel. I really enjoy it when books let me see historical periods through the eyes of the same characters and the fact that we see Ty’r Cwmwl from several different perspectives was fascinating and really kept me engrossed.
Wild Spinning Girls opens with Ida travelling back to Wales and into her family’s past after the loss of her parents. Their complicated relationship means that it is never straightforward for her to come face to face with things tat take her back and confront her with things which happened so long ago. But as Ida discovers, sometimes the past refuses to be neatly laid to rest.
Each of the succeeding episodes in the novel drip freed us more information about what Ida might have experienced in her youth – and how the past bleeds pervasively and beautifully with the present day – in so many small details in this beautiful and mysterious house. This narrative form was very more-ish and several nights kept me up much later than I’d intended with a real sense of ‘just one more chapter…’ as I was caught up in the house’s history and wondering where exactly its future lay.
The strong plotting and skilful characterisation combine to draw you into a story bursting with secrets and the stunningly evocative setting – where you could swear that you can hear the candles guttering and the cocks ticking in the hallways for yourself all combine to keep you turning the pages.
I really liked the way that we are left to discover things for ourselves and the novel credits the reader with a bit of intelligence, rather than spelling everything out straight away as we follow events to their evocative and satisfying conclusion. It’s hard to write about Wild Spinning Girls with no spoilers, but I’ve tried really hard as this is a book that you really need to experience for yourself.
If you like beautifully written and evocative fiction , you’ll love this book and I know that my mum’s definitely going to be pinching it from me for her holidays. I’d like to thank Random Things Tours & Anne Cater herself for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a fantastically enticing Spring read that will be hard to tear yourself way from once you get started.
Buy yourself a copy here
Writer On The Shelf
Carol Lovekin is the author of three novels published by Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press. She writes about mother/daughter relationships, family dynamics & her stories are rooted in the Welsh landscape. They touch on the Welsh Gothic & its most powerful motif: the ghost.
Her first novel, Ghostbird (2016) was a Waterstones Wales and Welsh Independent Bookshops Book of the Month, a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2016 & in the same year was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize. Snow Sisters (2017), her second novel, was chosen by the Welsh Books Council as their October Book of the Month (for independent shops.) Her third novel, Wild Spinning Girls is available now.