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A Wild & True Relation

Winston Graham Historical Prize, 2024

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349015392

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 4th January 2024

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Adventure / Historical Adventure

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Shortlisted for the Winston Graham Prize for Historical Fiction

‘This book is a rarity – a novel as remarkable for the vigour of the storytelling as for its literary ambition. Kim Sherwood is a writer of capacity, potency and sophistication’ HILARY MANTEL

A Wild & True Relation opens during the Great Storm of 1703, as smuggler Tom West confronts his lover Grace for betraying him to the Revenue. Leaving Grace’s cottage in flames, he takes her orphaned daughter Molly on board ship disguised as a boy to join his crew. But Molly, or Orlando as she must call herself, will grow up to outshine all the men of Tom’s company and seek revenge – and a legacy – all of her own.

Woven into Molly’s story are the writers – from Celia Fiennes to Hester Thrale to George Eliot – who are transfixed by her myth and who, over three centuries, come together to solve the mystery of her life. With extraordinary verve and chutzpah, Sherwood remakes the eighteenth-century Heroical novel and challenges women’s writing and women’s roles throughout history.


I loved this tremendous book and devoured it in two days. Vividly imagined, relentlessly entertaining, rich and resonant in scope and context, it's both a thrilling adventure and a vital witness to women's voices
Emma Stonex, author of THE LAMPLIGHTERS
Rich and immersive
Sunday Times
A thrilling adventure novel that richly evokes the sights, sounds and smells of Devon at the turn of the eighteenth century. Smugglers, pirates and some cameos from some well-known writers - what's not to like! It presents swashbuckling action alongside reflections on authorship, agency and the powerful question of who gets to write history
Fiona Mozley, Booker shortlisted author of ELMET and HOT STEW
A gripping feminist adventure story
It is a breathtaking feat of historical fiction, and an utterly astounding novel. It is wise, urgent and entirely compelling. I was bereft when it ended. If it does not win every prize for fiction next year, I will be amazed.
Wyl Menmuir, author of The Draw of the Sea
[Sherwood] adopts the dramatic conventions of the 18th-century adventure novel to spin a tale of secrecy, betrayal and law-breaking on the open seas, while cleverly subverting those same codes to reveal an inherently feminist agenda . . . champions rather than elides the female voice, giving her heroine the right to both speak and record the truth about her life
Harper's Bazaar
A blistering tale of early 18th-century love, betrayal, murder, and revenge, wrapped up in a novel of smuggling, piracy, shipbuilding, and a girl who is not as she seems. The prose is superb
Historical Novels Society
Employing lusty couplings, a brooding hero and a tender young heroine, Sherwood plays knowingly with the romantic genre ... By both undermining and indulging the genre, it seems Sherwood is having her delicious contraband cake and eating it, too
Suzi Feay, Guardian
This book is a rarity - a novel as remarkable for the vigour of the storytelling as for its literary ambition. Kim Sherwood is a writer of capacity, potency and sophistication
Hilary Mantel
Breathlessly swashbuckling ... both full-blooded historical fiction and thoughtful literary deconstruction, both elements immaculately researched. You can take pleasure in her punchy plotting and flamboyant nautical descriptions, plus the subversive Molly's complex navigation of those dual selves - with "Orlando" a clear nod to Woolf's similarly gender-bending novel
Daily Telegraph