Romany Gypsy, Culvato Ardry, hopes that one day he will have enough money to replace his wooden barrow with a horse-drawn Gypsy caravan, and to take a travelling fair with entertainers around the country. The year is 1790, and in Culvato’s lifetime he will experience robbery, murder, and family troubles.
From the very first page of this book, I was enthralled and eager to discover what would happen next. The novel was written whilst the author was caring for her seriously ill husband and daughter, and has been completed with tenderness and insight. The author has researched the subject matter in depth and uses traditional Romany language as part of the text. The action scenes are compelling and in some cases brutal, which lends a feeling of reality. The characters come across as very believable, and it is easy to sense empathy and hope for Culvato and his wife Ursula’s future as the reader is drawn into their conflicts and achievements. If I was going to criticise anything I would say that the last few chapters lacked the structure of the rest of the book, however, this did not detract from a great story, and I would recommend Gilded Wagons as an engaging and worthwhile read.
This fundamentally well-written book is the first by this author, and I would love to see the success of this novel built upon with further works. I will be keeping an eye open for F E Wharmby in the future.