BINGO – The Wilds
We all know this story: Puritan community in the Northeast turns on a local woman accused of witchcraft because she’s different. The woman and her husband live way on the outskirts of the village practically in the woods themselves, and the entire think them both a little off. The overall set up of this novel is not new. However what sets this story apart from others is that there isn’t unfounded hysteria. The protagonist Abitha is in fact cavorting with a devil or demon or otherworldly creature of some kind.
Tabitha was sent from England to be married off to an eligible bachelor by Tabitha’s drunk of a father to pay off debts. She does not fit in with the austere Puritan community she finds herself in. She wants passion and love. She knows little charms and home-remedies. The only thing that ties her to the community at large is her husband. But when he dies, Abitha finds the she must fight for her home, her land, and her freedom, something the rest the village and Abitha’s brother-in-law don’t think she can do all by her self at the edge of the woods. She enlists the help of a supernatural entity that she calls Samson. He has cloven feet and horns and other general goat-like features. He can perform magical feats, and he protects her from those that would harm her, both from the community and the forest.
This book excels when Brom is writing the hysteria of the community and the helplessness that Abitha feels. It was infuriating to read yet compelling. I wanted to shake every man’s shoulders in this book and yell at them to just get a grip! On the flip side, this books got really bogged down though with the more supernatural aspects of Samson. His backstory felt confused, jumbled, and ultimately unnecessary. I don’t think that Samson’s individual stories of protecting a very specific tree sapling, dealing with the anthropomorphic animals who also represent natural objects like the Sky and the Creek who were trying to control him, or trying to remember his own history added anything to Abitha’s plight, and I didn’t care too much about his emotional or mental state throughout.
What saves this book from being three stars is the ending. Brace yourselves. Abitha exacts deadly, bloody, and marvelous revenge on a town that turned its back on her. It is gory and brutal, but feels perfectly in place to cap off Abitha’s story.