Lovely Wild by Megan Hart

Lovely Wild
Lovely Wild by Megan Hart, Dark Fiction, 346 pages
From New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart comes a haunting and insightful novel about a woman trying to find her place in the world… 

Brought up in the savage captivity of her unstable grandmother's rural Pennsylvania home, Mari Calder once yearned for rescue. Now she struggles every day to function as an adult in the confines of normal society. Left with only a foggy recollection of her childhood, she's consumed with being a dutiful wife to her husband, Ryan, and mother to their two children.

But an unexpected twist of events returns her to that long-forgotten house in the woods. Soon, Mari is greeted with reminders of a past life, the clarified memories only inviting a new level of strangeness into her fragile world. To protect her family, she must find the beautiful, powerful strength hidden in her inner chaos. Because someone is bent on exploiting Mari's trauma, and as normal and wild begin to blend, a string of devastating truths force Mari to question all she thought she knew.
Mari has two children and a successful husband she loves and adores. They live a normal life in a nicer than average home in the suburbs. Mari is a housewife who loves doting on her two kids. But life wasn’t always this ordinary for Mari and she’s had to work hard to fit into society’s version of “normal”.

Though she doesn’t remember it, Mari's past was filled with extreme neglect, poverty and hunger. She’s a bit different than most of the women in her upper middle class world, she doesn’t really fit in and she doesn’t seem to give a damn. She likes her life and I liked her right away. She’s honest, prefers bare feet and gypsy skirts and has some odd quirks which make her appear a little strange but which turn out to be coping mechanisms. Her past and her ability to come to terms with all of its ugly hidden secrets is the single most captivating thing about this novel. The details are slowly revealed so I’ll try not to spoil it all.

In her dreams, she is still wild.

When the book opens, Mari’s life seems normal and pretty mundane. There were endless pages consisting of the daily routines and mini dramas featuring her teen daughter Kendra, her younger son Ethan and her husband Ryan told from the varying point of views of Mari, Ryan and Kendra. If this were all there was I would have been bored out of my skull within 50 pages but there were odd habits and unraveling secrets and that’s what hooked me and what kept me. I was hoping a dark, creepy underbelly was hiding beneath all of that sickening perfectness and my hopes weren’t shattered. It was fascinating in the way those old VC Andrews books were when I was a kid but it was much better written.

Needless to say, a shift happens and Mari and her family’s perfect lives are upended, Mari’s strange past is revealed, as well as Ryan’s  antics. If you can enjoy a unique but sometimes too trusting heroine and a story that is believably strange but remains grounded in reality, this is worth seeking out on audio. Madeleine Maby has a beautiful tone to her voice and does a great job with the characters, especially Mari, and makes you feel a part of Mari’s not at all conventional world.

The rest of this review is best avoided. Please don't click if you don't want to know too much.

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