Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Summary: Wildwing by Emily Whitman

Have you ever read a book and then forgotten everything you read? Do you ever wish you could just read a quick summary to refresh your memory instead of having to reread the entire book? I have, especially when a book is part of a series and I just want to get the highlights of the previous books so I know what's going on when I read the latest installment. I enjoy rereading, but sometimes I just feel so guilty spending time on a book I've already read when all the books on my TBR pile glare at me for neglecting them. These posts are an attempt to help forgetful readers like myself.

The following post is a summary of the book. It does contain spoilers, so if you haven't read the book, then don't read the rest of this post!

Wildwing, by Emily Whitman
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Publisher: Greenwillow books
Pages: 359
My Review
Author's Page
Amazon Page

Goodreads Page

So you want to find out what happens in Wildwing? Click here if you want to read my spoiler free review, or click the following link for the full summary:

Click me to read spoilers

The story opens in 1913 with fifteen year old Addy excited about being chosen to play the part of the queen in a school play. Addy is a poor girl and the daughter of a single mother. She is ridiculed by her wealthier peers for being both poor and fatherless. On the way home from school, Addy gets into a fight with one of her classmates who had been picking on her. When her mother finds out, Addy is forced to apologize (a humiliating experience), leave school, and become a maid for the eccentric Mr. Greenwood.

Mr. Greenwood is a widower whose son James went missing when James was a young child. Mr. Greenwood has remained reclusive ever since. Addy is at first scared of him, but they soon strike up a friendship over a shared love of books. Mr. Greenwood nurtures Addy and begins to think of her as the child he never had.

While cleaning the house, Addy discovers a locked room and decides to explore. She finds a strange contraption that looks like an elevator lift. Upon stepping inside, she is transported back to the 13th century where she is mistaken for a lady and treated with respect. She only wanders through town for a short while before going back to the lift and heading home. While in the medieval village, Addy accidentally fell and tore her skirts. Her mother mistakes these tears for evidence of another fight and she decides to send Addy away as a live-in maid.

Addy does not want this life and so she decides to go back to the 13th century where she can live the life of a grand lady. Unbeknownst to Addy, Mr. Greenwood is also working to ensure a life for Addy different from the one her mother plans. Addy steals the dress she would have worn in the school play and takes the lift/time machine back to the 13th century. She sets the machine to arrive again in fifteen days, just in case things don’t work out for her and she wants to return to her own time.

Upon arrival, she sees a great Peregrine falcon that leads her to the ocean. There, she discovers a shipwreck. She finds an expensive cross necklace and a ring in the wreckage and puts both of them on. She then wades into the water to see if she can find any survivors. In the process, she is happened upon by Sir Hugh’s men who mistake her for the Lady Matilda. Matilda is the King’s ward and was on the ship that wrecked, coming to marry Sir Hugh. Addy sees an opportunity to elevate her status and pretends to be Lady Matilda. Her ignorance of various matters is explained away by a head injury she “sustained” in the ship wreck.

At the castle, Beatrix is assigned to Addy as her lady’s maid. Beatrix is an older peasant woman who lives in town. She is kind to Addy and the two become friends. Beatrix doses Addy so Addy sleeps to recover from her shipwreck ordeal. When Addy wakes up, Beatrix finds her making her bed, but the incident is brushed aside quickly. Beatrix shows Addy around the castle and explains that Sir Hugh is currently away but will be returning in a few weeks. Addy also meets Eustace, a shrewd steward who does not trust Addy. Addy’s appearance is also commented on, as Lady Matilda was supposed to be rather ugly and Addy is not. None had seen the lady in person, however, so Addy’s ruse is still safe.

Addy makes a number of mistakes such as eating the bread trenchers used as dinner plates, not wiping her mouth on the shared goblet, not understanding the way food and drink are shared, and not attending church. Eustace is increasingly suspicious and writes to Sir Hugh about Addy’s errors. He alludes to the necessity of her marriage to Sir Hugh and implores Sir Hugh to hurry back.

Meanwhile, Addy is introduced to Will, an attractive boy who is the son of the castle falconer. Will had trained a small merlin for the Lady Matilda, but Addy is captivated by the peregrine falcon Pilgrim that Will has trained for Sir Hugh. She rudely demands Pilgrim, and eventually compromises with Will to assist in Pilgrim’s training instead.

When Addy meets resistance by Eustace and the castle guards (they fear her going out alone), she concocts a “vision.” Addy pretends to have seen a vision of herself, Will, and Beatrix going to the hill where the lift first arrived. There, they were to see a bird and a godly voice telling Addy to “Go.” This is interpreted to mean Addy should take up falconry. When Addy, Will, and Beatrix go to the hill for real, they see the same beautiful peregrine falcon that Addy saw when she first arrived. The sunlight strikes the bird and Beatrix believes the vision has come to pass. The local priest is awed and sets to work on a plaque.

Will and Addy are now able to go outside the castle walls to fulfill Addy’s vision. The two spend much time together training Pilgrim with only Beatrix as chaperone (Beatrix often falls asleep and so they are effectively alone). Through their conversations, Addy discovers that Will appeared as if out of nowhere when he was a young child, claiming to have arrived in a box. They also discover evidence of Sir Giles’ men skulking about the land. Sir Hugh owes Sir Giles money and the two are often fighting. Addy does not want Eustace to decide it is too dangerous for her and Will to go out, and so she does not tell anyone about Sir Giles’ men.

The body of the real Lady Matilda is discovered, but she is assumed to be Addy’s lady’s maid. Addy goes along with this, though she feels guilty that the dead Matilda has no one to pray for her soul. Eustace becomes increasingly suspicious of Addy and her relationship with Will. Eustace is shown to be a cruel man when he threatens and hits a young servant boy. Addy witnesses this, but chooses to hold her tongue for fear of inviting Eustace’s further suspicion.

The king sends an expensive cloth to be used to make Addy’s wedding dress. He also sends word that he will be attending the wedding. Appalled by the idea of marrying Sir Hugh, a much older man, especially now that she loves Will, Addy cries often. Sir Giles, a neighboring lord comes to reclaim a debt Sir Hugh owes him and threatens war if those debts are not paid. He shows the severed head of one of Sir Hugh’s men as a sign of his seriousness. Addy confronts Eustace, but Eustace assures her it is a minor disagreement and nothing for her to worry about. Eustace then writes to Sir Hugh imploring him to return immediately.

Sir Hugh does return, and while he is pleased with Addy, she is not pleased with him. He is much older than her and a very brash and bawdy man. He drinks much, is loud, and while friendly, has a brutish air about him. He is fond of war, drink, and women. Addy is repulsed, but tries to convince herself that she will be wealthy when she marries Sir Hugh, and that should make her happy. She tells Will that they can still see one another. Will agrees.

Sir Hugh, Will, and Addy go hawking together with Pilgrim and Addy decides she cannot stand him. She and Will conspire to run away together. Addy doses Beatrix and slips out with Will. While they are running away, Sir Hugh is out hawking with Will’s father and the king’s expensive falcon. Sir Hugh’s brashness gets the falcon lost and caught in a tree. Will and Addy find the falcon and are faced with a dilemma: Leave the falcon stuck in the tree and know that Will’s father will be killed as punishment for losing the king’s bird, or return with the bird and lose their opportunity for escape. They decide to return.

Upon their arrival, Addy is informed that a spy has been captured and is in the dungeon. She is taken to see the spy and discovers that he is not a spy at all, but Mr. Greenwood come to rescue her. He is ill from his ordeal in the dungeons and Addy worries for him. Sir Hugh and Addy talk over the unconscious Mr. Greenwood (whom Addy has claimed as her countryman arrived for the wedding), and Sir Hugh reveals a softer side of himself. Mr. Greenwood recovers and becomes fast friends with Sir Hugh after explaining a number of more modern ways of farming and technology. Mr. Greenwood recognizes Will as his long lost son, but implores Addy not to tell him. Will has made a life with a loving father, and Mr. Greenwood does not wish to take that from him. He is content to watch his son from afar knowing that he is alive and well.

Will and Addy still plan on running away, though Mr. Greenwood’s presence adds some trouble as Addy feels responsible for him. Addy overhears Eustace and Sir Hugh arguing over Sir Giles. She discovers that Sir Hugh owes Sir Giles a large sum of money, and they were counting on using Addy’s dowry to pay off the debt. If they are unable to pay, Sir Giles will bring war and many of Sir Hugh’s people will die. Addy now feels responsible for these people and she realizes that she must marry Sir Hugh after all.

Addy confesses the whole truth to Will: Her time traveling, Sir Hugh’s debts, and how her marriage would save lives. Will believes her, but he still wants to run away together. Eustace comes in and threatens Addy, and Will understands she must go through with the marriage. Addy also confesses to Beatrix, but Beatrix tells her that she suspected Addy was not Lady Matilda from the beginning and she is happy for Addy. While they are talking, Addy comes up with a plan to both provide money for Sir Hugh and happiness for herself and Will.

On the day of the wedding, Addy marries Sir Hugh while wearing a veil so the king does not recognize her. She explains that she had another vision where she must wear the veil until she revisits the site of her first vision on the hill. She must do this alone except for Pilgrim, Will, and Beatrix. When she gets to the hilltop, the lift is there as scheduled by Mr. Greenwood. Addy ties her veil to Pilgrim and sends the bird flying. Beatrix, on cue, cries out that there is a blinding light and it is a miracle. She claims that Addy has been taken by god. In reality, Addy has left in the time machine, promising to send it back in a few days for Will (so as not to arouse suspicion that they ran off together).

When Addy arrives back in 1913, the time machine’s dials catch on fire and are destroyed. Addy despairs that she will never see Will again and she slowly accepts her old life again. Her mother does not mention sending her away again, and Addy is able to convince her mother to allow her to return to school. A short time later, Addy is informed that the missing and now presumed dead Mr. Greenwood had left his estate to Addy. Later that day, Addy hears of a mysterious appearance of a strange box. She goes to investigate and finds a wooden version of the time machine. It is empty. She rushes to Mr. Greenwood’s house where she finds Will. He has returned to her and they live happily ever after.


  1. I just skim your review. I didn't want to read so many spoliers, but wow. I am super excited to read this!!

  2. Well, this is a good idea. I've never thought about doing this myself. It seems like this would have taken you a long time to do though as it's very thorough. Did it?

  3. Savannah, my review is in the post below, so you can read that without any worry of spoilers. :)

    Aylee, it took maybe an hour? I'm not certain but that sounds about right. I got the idea from a post on The Book Vixen where she asked how people keep track of important facts when reading a series. I kept thinking on the topic and I decided I'd try to fill that void with summaries. It will certainly come in handy for myself, and maybe it will help others as well.


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