In the rugged Pacific Northwest of the United States lies the Olympic National Forest – a vast expanse of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. From deep within this mysterious land, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she offers no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past.
Having retreated to her hometown after a scandal left her career in ruins, child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates begins working with the extraordinary little girl. Naming her Alice, Julia is determined to free her from a prison of unimaginable fear and isolation, and discover the truth about Alice’s past. The shocking facts of Alice’s life test the limits of Julia’s faith and strength, even as she struggles to make a home for Alice – and find a new one for herself.
Whilst I didn't get the emotional attachment to this book as I did with The Nightingale, it was still a really absorbing book and fascinating story following the discovery of a young 'wild' girl who is found in a woods, and the battle for those who find her to connect with her and find out who she actually is.
Dr Julia Cates is at the centre of the story as she's facing tough times following a scandal in her own career, but she's called on by her sister who is in the police and is one of the first to have found this young girl and a wolf cub in the woods who doesn't talk and seems totally unaware of human behaviour. Knowing that her sister is a child psychiatrist, Ellie knows that her sister could be the answer to getting to know this young girl and getting to find out more about why she has been living in the woods and for how long.
Julia and 'Alice', the name she gives the young girl when she starts responding by being read to, start spending all hours of the day together and develop an amazing bond. They need the media to help share the story to see if the family of this young girl are out there, and that forces Julia to confront her previous life where she was vilified by the media and brings back unsavoury memories.
I was fascinated by the young girl and her story and really wish there'd been more from her viewpoint about her time in the woods and how she found life in this 'new world' as it did appear to be brushed over quite a bit. What transpires is quite a shocking story but I don't think it hit home hard enough as it could have, as the storyline of Julia often overtook the narrative and that became a bit repetitive after a while.