Publisher: Fig Tree | Publication date: 26th February 2015 | Version: Hardback (own copy)
“What’s a Hutte?” I asked. “A magical place in the forest,” my father said with a catch in his voice. “Our very own little cabin, with wooden walls, and wooden floors, and wooden shutters at the windows…”
Little Peggy would have quite innocently followed in her father’s footsteps to the end of the world and back again. Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined what that could come to mean…
Her keen survivalist father had allowed her to camp at the bottom of the garden of their house in London, live in a rickety tent and cook over an open fire. He’d even shown her how to live off the land.
With her famous Germanic pianist mother, Ute, away from home, she had left her husband in sole charge of their daughter, which meant that Peggy could enjoy this ‘outdoor’ life even more; not having to bathe, foraging for food and the mock drills in case of dire emergency.
At just ten years old she unwittingly exchanged the comforts of her home in London for a remote and uninviting wilderness, a place her father explained would be a haven for their family and that her mother would be joining them soon.
But their short stay in ‘die Hutte’ stretched into nine long years and differed greatly from the sanctuary her father had promised.
There was just the two of them, as her father cruelly told her that the rest of the world did not exist anymore and that they were the only survivors. Trusting him as she did, she believed every word he spoke, that is until she became mesmerised by a mysterious wild man called Rueben whose name had been etched in their cabin…
Leaving home as a child in 1976 and returning as a young woman in 1985, Peggy has to confront a whole new set of challenges. Even though the story moves backwards and forwards through both time periods it’s seamlessly blended.
This incredible portrayal of Peggy’s difficult journey into adulthood under ‘gut-kicking’ circumstances is written in the most incredible way. Even with its disturbing undercurrent, which started as a trickle being dripped into the chapters, it’s a book I would highly recommend. I just had to keep on reading until I discovered how she arrived home again, if she would be safe and what would happen to her.
It’s one of those books you will read that will hold your attention until the very last page, and will continue to linger in your mind long after you’ve closed its haunting cover.
You can follow the author on Twitter: @ClaireFuller2