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wildishReviewed by Claudia Robinson

“And with the prospect of being home safely in just a few hours time (something he could scarcely have hoped for when he set out with such foreboding yesterday), he resolves instead not to waste another minute of his life in self-torment but to devote himself instead in all the giddy lusting of his own personal obsession, his very own stairway to heaven in which he will enjoy the pleasures of not just one but seven beautiful women.” – Matthew

Matthew Wildish is a poet, a Master wigmaker, and a womanizer with a reputation that precedes him throughout England. With pretty words, a full pocket, and experienced hands (among other things), Matthew gets what Matthew wants. Sort of. When Matthew’s best friend Sam’s wife, the deliciously beautiful, intelligent and articulate wife, Johanna, puts a bug in his ear about the planetary spheres and their harness-able powers, Matthew’s life becomes a seemingly impossible quest. A quest to find seven women, each one carrying the attribute of the celestial bodies, he and Johanna have discussed, at length, and bed them, in order, one after the other, while keeping each unawares of the other.

The moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars; Matthew delves deeply in to the high society of 18th century England, out sourcing aide from unlikely resources, numerous masquerades, daring underground endeavors, in an attempt to match maidens with the corresponding planetary attributes. Unaware of his endeavors, assuming, instead that her “Wonder”, Matthew, is simply seeking material for his next literary masterpiece, Johanna, unwittingly helps Matthew, introducing him to the ostentatious Lord Snatchal, and his ostentatious wife, the unforgettable, devious, Lady Snatchal, giving him the King’s ear, and potential benefactors for any future works.

The quest to find his seven women takes Matthew, and his friends, through a series of events that range from whippings in a brothel, a commission for a wig made from pubic hair, near death experiences, and parties, all whilst war licks at their heels, casting a dark and ominous cloud over any and all daily activities. When Matthew, a self proclaimed and acclaimed bachelor finds his heart suddenly melting for Johanna, Matthew’s world becomes upended and confusing. Unfamiliar territory, underhanded missions, blackmail and deceit, plague Matthew’s quest, and throw a monkey wrench in to his plans. Will he manage to succeed in aligning his celestial bodies, or will love conquer all? Lust or love, the timeless question.

Wildish, is Robert Parry’s third, and best novel. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing all three, and sunk eagerly in this, his latest work. Hefty, descriptive, brilliant, and elegant, Robert succeeds, as always, to bring the reader in to his world, with witty repartee, delicious and sumptuous characters, vivid and palpable surroundings. Each scenario is fleshed out with reverence and respect, and Parry lingers, lovingly, with each chapter, teasing his readers to remain fixated until the end. Wildish is devious, honest, brutal and seductive, offering romance, humor, the occult, sex, angst and remorse from page to the next. Parry conquers and rocks this style of writing, with no other coming close to his ability to extract and communicate to readers, a world very unlike our own, so absolutely flawlessly. Epic.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Claudia lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband and two children.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Robert Parry. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.