Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

J. L. Harland • April 24th, 2020

When Ida Llewellyn decides to visit the old house in Wales left to her by her father, she uncovers more than her Welsh ancestry.  Ty’r Cwmwl is haunted by Heather Morgan and the spirit of her dead mother, Olwen.  Bereft after the sudden death of her parents, superstitious and afraid, Ida gradually uncovers the secret binding her to Cloud House and the strange girl obsessed with making life difficult for her.

There are some books you race through and some you linger over. Wild Spinning Girls is in the latter category. There’s something so poetic in the use of language that you want to savour it. The descriptions are vivid and yet the places dream-like at the same time. Ty’r Cwmwl , Cloud House, is a magical place, haunted by ghosts and magic. Yet there is also something underneath all the mysticism - the relationship between two girls both grieving for lost mothers. The dead mothers have their part to play in this story. The beautiful Anna, a ballerina, killed in an accident in Paris and Olwen, wise woman, witch, healer and a strong presence in the house.

The relationship between the two girls is volatile. Heather feels that Ida has no right to be in the house and fills her mind with fear and suspicion. Then there is the moor and the birds who seem to be fierce guardians of the property and whose presence makes Ida more afraid.

It’s almost an all female cast of characters in the story. Strong women, all unique and complex. Ida’s father is central to the story but not painted in great detail.

The story of how Heather and Ida progress in their journeys towards understanding and coming to terms with their grief is revealed almost in slow motion. The lyricism of the language is one of the most outstanding features of this novel. It’s mesmerising, pulling the reader into the story, providing its own magic. Words you want to linger over, savour on your tongue, and imagery that makes you feel you are part of this strange and mystic landscape.

Published by Honno, this is the third novel by Carol Lovekin. Buy from your local bookshop now.

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