The Wildling Sisters reminds me of old school V.C. Andrews novels meets Pretty Little Liars? Maybe not in the best way. Like Andrews, Chase uses beautiful words to describe ugly events. I thought I would like it, I really did. It started off with a bang, after all. Unfortunately, most of the story fell a little flat for me.
The Goodreads Description
Four sisters. One summer. A lifetime of secrets.
When fifteen-year-old Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote Manor in June 1959, they expect a quiet English country summer. Instead, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. As the sisters become divided by new tensions when two handsome neighbors drop by, Margot finds herself drawn into the life Audrey left behind. When the summer takes a deadly turn, the girls must unite behind an unthinkable choice or find themselves torn apart forever.
Fifty years later, Jesse is desperate to move her family out of their London home, where signs of her widower husband’s previous wife are around every corner. Gorgeous Applecote Manor, nestled in the English countryside, seems the perfect solution. But Jesse finds herself increasingly isolated in their new sprawling home, at odds with her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and haunted by the strange rumors that surround the manor.
Rich with the heat and angst of love both young and old, The Wildling Sisters is a gorgeous and breathtaking journey into the bonds that unite a family and the darkest secrets of the human heart.
So The Wildling Sisters has alternate timelines.
One from the fifties, involving the four Wilde sisters. This is in first-person, present-tense, with Margot, the second youngest, as our narrator. This writing was quick and felt authentic, while still being believable for how a kid would speak in the fifties/sixties.
The other was present day, yet somehow felt antiquated. The writing was slower, drawn-out. This is personal preference, but I do not need six paragraphs to describe a garden. I felt myself being removed from the story fairly often during times of over-explanation (there was NONE of this in the alternate timeline). Also personal preference, this portion is written in third-person present-tense, which I have expressed my distaste for in the past. It is just uncomfortable for me to read.
The alternating is fairly hard to pull off, and I felt it missed the mark in this case. At the beginning, I enjoyed the story of the Wilde sisters far more than the more modern timeline, which made it easy for me to walk away at the end of chapters.
Are very believable, which is one thing I really enjoyed about this. They definitely don’t act in ways we like, but at least for most of the story, they act how people in their situation would. Which is to say that a lot of the time, they do terrible things. Just like people would, were they actually missing a daughter or cousin or former friend.
The modern story had unpleasant family dynamics, which just had me further realizing that it didn’t have enough to do, in my opinion, with the story we really want, the mystery involved with the Wilde family.
Unfortunately, several of the characters seemed to rest on stereotypes. Even the sisters, who we love as a unit, don’t all have believable arcs and personal agency.
Had some issues. It starts off, immediately, with the Wilde sisters, in the fifties, dragging a body. Super interesting. I immediately felt drawn in. Unfortunately, after two pages of this, the story slows drastically in both the modern family and the original, and it takes more than half the book to pick back up. When it does pick back up, things get weird.
Is strange. There isn’t a lot I can say, because spoilers, but wow. What starts off as normal progression through teenage summer and the loss of a loved one gets straight bizarre. 3/4 of the way in, the four young girls we’ve come to know feel and act incredibly irrationally, both within their close-knit group and out of it.
My Final Thoughts
Are that I would really, really love to see young women who don’t act insane around boys, and jealousy of a prettier woman is a pretty significant plot point, and I’d love to see less of this also.
Thanks to Penguin’s First to Read Program for giving me advance access to this book in exchange for an honest review!