In the summer of 1972, a group of young people arrives at Wyld Farm, Somerset, ostensibly to renovate a dilapidated cottage on a farm owned by Seymour Stratton, a society photographer, who uses the country idyll for lavish parties where music blares out all night, and drugs and drink are readily available.
To the young workers life is a free idyll. On the other hand, Mrs Morle, the housekeeper, who lives nearby with her teenage daughter, observes the comings and goings with a jaundiced eye. When Seymour has had enough, everything collapses. Twenty-five years later, Seymour is dead, and has bequeathed the farm to his son and friends who were the “wyld dreamers”. This is when the secrets of the Seventies are revealed and a mystery is solved.
This novel opened with a great sense of nostalgia for me, as I was drawn straight back to my youth; the fashions, the food and especially the records on the turntable, all came rushing back to me. Oh, the nostalgia… which brings me to the question of whether Wyld Dreamers can be called historical fiction following the HNS’s definition. The author states the novel is not autobiographical, but it is based on her life. Although nearly 50 years have passed since the events described, I can remember that era only too well.
Having said that, I enjoyed this novel, although I greatly preferred the opening sections to the latter half, where it fizzled out somewhat. If anyone needs to know what it felt like to wander barefoot through long grass wearing flowers in your hair and smoking grass of the other variety, this novel is for you.