The Hunter and the Wild Girl – by Pauline Holdstock (82)

This is a haunting story about two outcasts who force an unlikely alliance. I usually don’t read stories like this. But I have made it a point this year to expand my horizons and read books that are outside of my comfort zone for the Book Mine Challenge.

In the high garrigue, the dense, unforgiving scrubland of southern France, a feral girl roams between villages and farmyards, stealing food and avoiding human contact.

When she is seen on one of her thieving mission in the village of Freyzus, she is pursued by the townspeople to the edge of a deep gorge, where she jumps and disappears – vanishing into village legend.

On the other side of the gorge, in an abandoned estate, Peyre Rouff, once known for his hunting skills, lives out a life of renunciation. In self-imposed exile, he focuses all of his attention on the intricate taxidermy he creates to keep his thoughts from wandering too close to the day he lost everything.

When the wild girl breaks into Peyre’s seclusion, their mutual estrangement from society offers a common bond. He provides her with food and shelter, while she brings light to places Peyre had thought were dark forever.

But the hunter’s carefully controlled patterns of life begin to unravel, and when the wider world learns of the girl’s presence at the estate, Peyre is forced to confront not only his choices and their consequences, but society itself.

This story is quite dark in places. However, the morale of the story is great. It is an unforgettable tale that affirms the persistence of life, the power of human connection and the fundamental urge to be free. These are all themes that we can relate to as being valuable.

I loved this story from beginning to end. If you want a good read that will keep you transfixed to the pages of the narrative, this book is a great weekend read, given that it is now fall and it kind of looks like winter is coming soon.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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About irenesroth

I am a freelance and academic writer. I am currently writing a book called `Fearless Freelance Writers`. Please look out for it soon on this blog.
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