My Goldsboro GSFF book for April, Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May, is set in 1920s England in a world which banned magic after it was used to manipulate soldiers during WWI. Magic in this universe is herbal, added to teas, chocolates, and drinks. But there’s an island where people flout this rule. And this is where our main character, Annie, is headed.
This book was absolutely fantastic. It was full of twists and turns, witchy magic galore, darkness, blood, and I found myself reading as my eyes fluttered shut. I didn’t want to stop reading but I couldn’t stay awake!
The magic system I found absolutely fascinating. There is both the herbal magic, and also blood magic, both of which act in similar ways but seem to garner different results (and take different amounts from the people who enact them). In addition, I thought that the background of the banning of magic, and of the island’s proclivity for it, was really interesting. It’s not the focus of the story, but it definitely adds another dimension to this not-quite-reality world.
There is some beautiful character development throughout this novel. Our main character starts out as an incredibly shy girl who has never left her home village, and who tries not to disturb the status quo. This, if it wasn’t obvious, changes. But we also see some significant changes in our other characters, from those we have as POVs as well as those in the background. If you’re looking for LGBTQ+ rep, then you’ve come to the right place. We have non-binary representation, as well as gay and lesbian characters, who are the primary focus of the story.
I did see this touted as a Great Gatsby retelling, and whilst I can see the influence that Gatsby had, it’s definitely more of an inspiration situation rather than a direct influence. We do have parties, and longing after someone who is taken now (and in an unhappy marriage). And there is disaster that strikes. But this is, at least to me, a backdrop to the magical plotline. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! I adore the magical components of this book. Just be aware of what you’re going in to.
On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 9, Plot: 9, Intrigue: 10, Logic: 9 and Enjoyment: 10, which gives a score of 9.25 and a 5* rating!
Highlight here for trigger warnings: alcohol/drug use, anxiety/panic attacks, visions/hallucinations, parental death, death of a loved one, murder, domestic abuse, forced name change, discrimination against masculine dress, body dysphoria, gender/appearance dysphoria, gore (blood), parental neglect, emotional abuse, pregnancy, abortion, rape, self harm.
Overall? I adored this. Oh god it was so good. Honestly whoever is picking out the books at Goldsboro for their GSFF box seems to have my taste down to a T! One or two more amazing books like these and I’ll trust them completely.
Have you read Wild and Wicked Things? Do you want to? Let me know! If you like witchy magic and dark vibes then I totally recommend this one.