The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang
By Ruth Emmie Lang
Fantasy, Magical Realism, Fiction, Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary
November 15, 2022
Ohioana Book Award finalist Ruth Emmie Lang returns with a new cast of ordinary characters with extraordinary abilities.
Five years ago, Nora Wilder disappeared. The older of her two daughters, Zadie, should have seen it coming, because she can literally see things coming. But not even her psychic abilities were able to prevent their mother from vanishing one morning.
Zadie’s estranged younger sister, Finn, can’t see into the future, but she has an uncannily good memory, so good that she remembers not only her own memories, but the echoes of memories other people have left behind. On the afternoon of her graduation party, Finn is seized by an “echo” more powerful than anything she’s experienced before: a woman singing a song she recognizes, a song about a bird…
When Finn wakes up alone in an aviary with no idea of how she got there, she realizes who the memory belongs to: Nora.
Now, it’s up to Finn to convince her sister that not only is their mom still out there, but that she wants to be found. Against Zadie’s better judgement, she and Finn hit the highway, using Finn’s echoes to retrace Nora’s footsteps and uncover the answer to the question that has been haunting them for years: Why did she leave?
But the more time Finn spends in their mother’s past, the harder it is for her to return to the present, to return to herself. As Zadie feels her sister start to slip away, she will have to decide what lengths she is willing to go to to find their mother, knowing that if she chooses wrong, she could lose them both for good.
I was super excited for this one. The idea of a missing mother and her two daughters each with different “psychic” abilities and their search to find their mother. I love books that have magical realism in it along with the mystery of their mother just up and disappearing 10 years prior had me immediately picking this one for my BOTM choice.
To start out, I really liked both the main characters of Zadie and Finn. Each of their abilities and personalities was unique and it had me hooked from the beginning. I loved seeing them reconnect and begin their adventure. The book was written with a lot of metaphors and was different in terms of how the story played out. We had the girls in the present going on this psychic road trip and then we got memories from the past of the last few months with their mother.
Throughout the book the girls met other characters that had abilities as well and were interesting. I especially loved the campground scenes and wished they had spent more time there. I loved where the story was heading and how Finn’s abilities were shifting into something else.
As the end grew nearer, I became increasingly confused about what happened and what was going on. [without spoilers] I never really understood the ending itself. But maybe I missed something that others picked up in all the metaphors and way the author wrote. But for me personally I like a straightforward end to the mystery and this just didn’t give it to me.
This one ended up being about a 3 star rating for me. I loved the beginning, the characters and where the story was heading. But the writing style itself lost me several times along the way and the ending was just not for me. If you were a fan of her other book - give it a shot, maybe you can understand what the author was getting at in the end better than I could. But the ending made it just an okay book for me.
QOTD: what book ending let you down?