Title: Wild and Free
Author: Wendy Holden
Publication Date: 23 April 2015
Publisher: Headline Review
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The Number One bestselling author of The Wives of Bath and Bad Heir Day returns with a sharp and funny slice of romantic comedy set around a music festival … carry on Glamping!
Wild and Free by Sunday Times bestselling author Wendy Holden sees the author of Bad Heir Day and The Wives of Bath at the top of her game. Fun for fans of Jane Costello and Carole Matthews. ‘Super-sharp …This hugely entertaining novel is chick lit at its best!’ Closer
Wild & Free is the festival du jour. Everyone piles through its gates – and Cupid lies in wait to sprinkle a little midsummer madness on them all.
Teacher Ginnie is desperate to forget her crush on headmaster Mark, and hopes glamping might do the trick. But Mark is also heading for Wild & Free to reform his college band …desperate not to be seen by anyone he knows.
Mark’s bandmate James dreams of a festival blow-out with his son, Guy …until his wife Victoria’s ambition kills the dream. Now she and Guy are en route to Wild & Free instead but when Guy meets Shanna-Mae and falls for her earthy charms, Victoria is determined to snap Cupid’s arrow.
Will the magic of the festival send them wild? Or set them free to find peace and love?
Thanks to Headline and Bookbridgr for providing copy of Wild and Free for review purposes. The review copy was a paperback version and I was immediately drawn to the colourful cover. I was also excited to read this book as I have read almost all of Wendy Holden’s previous publications and love the sense of humour in those previous works.
Wild and Free is a satirical take on an upscale music festival, the type attended by public school types and the middle class Range Rover driving set.
The book contains a variety of different protagonists, rather than focusing on just one or two, and as a result there are a few main storylines interspersed with some smaller plot lines. We are introduced to each protagonist by way of a backstory explaining how they came to be attending the Wild and Free festival.
We read about a group of middle-aged men keen to revisit their lost youth, a teacher escaping from a romantic mishap, a lawyer hiding from a dangerous client, a politican’s wife, a public school boy who falls in love, a beauty therapist and her odd friend, a pretentious author, a rich Russian, a poor aristocrat etc… and many more
The author gently pokes fun in equal measures towards all stereotypes, be it public school boys, politicans’ wives, lawyers, criminals, wannabe artistic types, hippies, teachers….. no one is safe from ridicule! However, beneath the ridicule, the author also allows us to understand and empathise with the mixed group of protagonists as they endure their weekend at the festival.
The addition of Jude, the recently released jewel thief, and the escaped cons was an unusual aspect to the tale and gave the story a ‘Carry on’ film feel to it which was slightly superfluous to the story, but which I quite enjoyed. This storyline provided an element of slapstick-comedy, although I must admit that I found some of the humour slightlyntoo juvenile at times, however that is only a minor quibble in an otherwise greatly entertaining book.
The story is almost caricature-like and carries a great sense of fun and humour as the characters romp through their weekend at the festival, hoping to make it out the other side unscathed. As they all arrive at the festival, mayhem soon erupts.
I understand that Wild and Free is the sequel to Gifted and Talented, which I had not previously read. However this did not interfere with my enjoyment of the book. Wild and Free works well as a standalone novel.
Wild and Free is easy-reading, humorous and entertaining, a great summery festival read. It lived up to my expectations and did not disappoint, although I’m not sure if it would persuade me to go to a festival myself!
Amazon UK: Kindle – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00N9AVLY2
Paperback – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0755385314
Amazon US: Kindle – http://amzn.com/B00N9AVLY2
Paperback – http://amzn.com/0755385314
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24481345-wild-and-free
About the Author
Number One bestselling author Wendy Holden has written ten consecutive Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. A former journalist on the Sunday Times, Tatler and the Mail on Sunday, she contributes to a range of publications and is a TV and radio regular. She was a judge for the Costa 2013 Novel and Book of the Year Awards. Wendy lives with her husband and two children in Derbyshire. Visit her on her website http://www.wendyholden.net, or follow her on Twitter @Wendy_Holden and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/wendyholdenauthor.