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February 06, 2023

In Wilderness: Book Review

By Wendy Robards

In Wilderness, by Diane Thomas.

She will remember this moment all her life, she is sure of it. - from In Wilderness, first sentence -

The year is 1966. Katherine Reid is sick. She thinks she is probably dying. It seems as though her happy life has completely unraveled. And so, she leaves society behind and heads to a cabin in the Georgia Appalachian Mountains. She brings very little with her -- a sleeping bag, a loaded gun, a tin plate. She expects to die soon -- alone in the woods.

But Katherine is not alone. Not by a long shot. Twenty-year-old Danny, a troubled Vietnam Vet, has discovered Katherine. He watches her. Stalks her. Fantasizes about her. Danny's past suggests violence -- especially towards women. As winter gives way to spring, Katherine is still alive and Danny is getting closer.

Diane Thomas has penned a novel that is a psychological thriller about obsession, desire, and the healing powers of nature. Katherine finds that isolating herself seems to make her feel better, while at the same time she is living on the edge of terror.

She should leave immediately, run as fast as she can into town and catch a bus back to Atlanta. That's the only sane, sensible thing to do. She knows this, and at the same time knows she will not go, knows she would not have gone even the other day. In this wilderness, and only here, she feels as if she isn't dying. Dares not carry this thought further. Dares not hope. And dares not go. - from In Wilderness, page 94 -

Katherine is experiencing a clash of emotions that is elevated by a raw desire for something she has never known before. She sees the danger, but cannot stop what she is doing.

I was totally engrossed in this novel. I feared for Katherine. I longed to know more about Danny's past. I wanted to see how this tale of two damaged people driven by erotic desire and something unnamed would end. Thomas weaves together the protagonists' stories against the stunning backdrop of the wilderness. Beautiful, frightening and hauntingly compelling, this novel will resonate for readers who enjoy both literary fiction and thrillers.

Highly recommended.

★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.

  • Rating System

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Excellent
★ ★ ★ ★ = Good/Very Good
★ ★ ★ = Okay read
★ ★ = Not recommended
★ = Ugh! Don't waste your time.

Catch all of Wendy Robard's reviews and her quilting finesse in her fabulous blog, "Caribousmom".


Article © Wendy Robards. All rights reserved.
Published on 2015-06-15
2 Reader Comments
Diane Thomas
10:46:49 PM
Wendy -- I'm so glad you enjoyed my novel "In Wilderness" and have such a deep understanding of its characters. I treasure that understanding in a reviewer. I don't know if you read the hardback or the new paperback edition. The latter contains a readers guide for book groups, with discussion questions and an interview of me by "Orphan Train" author Christina Baker Kline. FYI, I love speaking to book groups and will do free Speakerphone chats with groups who read and discuss "In Wilderness." The group leader simply needs to contact me on my website at dianethomas.net to schedle a date and time. Again, thanks for your lovely review. -- Diane Thomas
04:11:20 AM
You are so very welcome, Diane! I read the hardcover edition and love novels with complex characters! Thanks for the information re: book groups as well!
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