In the first of a regular series, Alicia Duggan of The Bookshop reviews Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves

History of Wolves is beautifully written, wonderfully descriptive and completely enthralling.

Fourteen-year-old Madeline (Linda) lives with her laid back, hippy parents on the grounds of their former commune in the woods of northern Minnesota. Linda, who is isolated at home and socially inept at school, becomes obsessed with attractive and enigmatic classmate Lily and their new history teacher Mr. Grierson. However, Mr Grierson is not at school for long, as he is accused of inappropriate behaviour.  The implications of his removal have a huge effect on Linda.

When the Gardner family moves in to a cabin across the lake Linda begins to babysit for their 4-year-old, Paul. As her relationships with Paul and his mother Petra develop, Linda finally feels the sense of belonging she has always craved. However, this is not the normal family Linda had hoped for. Paul has problems and his parents are deeply involved with Christian Science. During the course of the summer, Linda makes choices that reverberate throughout her life.

Told from the point of view of the Linda, aged 14, with reminiscences from her adult self, Fridlund has crafted a beautifully descriptive coming of age novel.

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