Gerry Wycherley’s novel The Man Under The Elm was sent to me by the publishers, Olympia publishers. They are a warm lot and I truly loved their gesture of sending a handwritten note.
Let me begin by saying that in contemporary times when historical romances top the best sellers, finding a novel having the potential of a classic is rare. The Man Under The Elm is one such novel.
The plot of the novel revolves around the character of William Wycherley. It is more a coming-of-the-age story of William. He is bethrothed to Jane but falls for Emma Corbett. Corbetts and Wycherleys are feuding families. And initially you may get a whiff of a bit of Romeo-Juliet-esque romance. But as the story progresses and characters evolve, you are drawn into the endless drama, intriguing at that. After a misfortune that falls on William, he is asked to elope to Paris. While in Paris he meets two powerful ladies of the society. It is here that he learns the meaning of life while reveling in the luxuries.
As mentioned earlier, the novel has an air of classic. At times you feel like you are reading Wuthering Heights, at times it gives a feel of Romeo- Juliet, at times a Jane Austen novel.
Not only does it do justice to the period drama it speaks of by the usage of period language but it also doesn’t overdo the intricate details. Gerry Wycherley keeps it to the point and doesn’t digress. The characters are multiple but well developed. Each character is peculiar in driving William to his destiny. The character most unfortunate is that of Jane and my heart goes out to her. She has loved, lost and suffered at the hands of her fate, love and patriachal society.
The novel is 246 pages long. The chapters are long and titled. But the story evolves slowly. You may want to put it down initially but it soon gets you involved. As you near the climax, you definitely want to read more about William’s next move.
The novel gives you never-seen-before slice of history and if you are a historical fiction lover, you will definitely like this.
Publisher: Olympia publishers
On the scale of readability, I rate it 8 on 10.
And it does deserve 4 out 5 stars for effortlessly drawing us into the medieval era.
If you have read this novel, do leave your views in the comments.