"That's how I come to see him before he sees me. He's leaning against a tree, like part of the forest himself in his green tunic, his brown leather boots. As I watch, he closes his eyes as if summoning some inner power, and he whistles again. But it's no falcon he's whistling down; there's no glove upon his hand. No, he's calling to me."
Are you not intrigued? (Admit it.)
This fantastic novel, Wildwing by Emily Whitman, is incredibly engaging and romantic, without relying on stereotypes or mush. It weaves history with truly realistic characters, especially the heroine, Addy. Like most teens, Addy deals with repression, rage, and mean girls. Despite living in 1913, Addy’s struggles feel incredibly present. After multiple clashes with the nasty rich girls at school, who tease and humiliate Addy for her questionable parentage, she is shuffled into service as a maid for the mysterious Mr. Greenwood. His house is filled with books, which Addy makes liberal use of as Mr. Greenwood, who has many secrets, spends his days out wandering in a most bronte-esque fashion.
It does not take long until Addy discovers a most inexplicable contraption, which upon further consideration appears to function as a time machine (duh). Fed up with her own life and time (literally) Addy makes the decision to step into the machine for good and try her luck in the middle ages. Transported to the year 1240, Addy soon finds how easy it is to reinvent herself as a lady. Through serendipitous circumstances, she is mistaken for the Lady Matilda, the long awaited bride to be of Sir Hugh. Welcomed with open arms, Addy enjoys power and respect for the first time in her life. However, this does not last long as she soon finds herself wound up with the handsome, blue-eyed falconer William (obviously gorgeous). Their romance is developed in a rather believable fashion, which is surprising for a book with such a ridiculous cover.
It is a failing of many young adult novels today that they feel they must picture their heroines as Hannah Montana tweens. Despite the sad excuse for cover art, this engaging and overall sweet read is satisfying and fun. Emily Whitman writes with light and whimsical style. All I can say is, forget vampires...bring on the falconers. Just kidding. Kind of.