William Strachan is tall and blond and handsome. He cooks homemade ravioli, cuts trees down with a chainsaw and plays the guitar. When Francine rents two rooms from him, her daughter, 9 year old Tess, cannot believe their good luck, and tries hard to make him love her. But William has three daughters of his own and a wife 500 miles away. And then there is Tess's brother to convince - Jake, who from the first day feels nothing for William but contempt. As William and Francine become more deeply involved, the two families become one, with the usual muddle of good intentions and the confusion of looking for happiness while trying to please. The Wild is a brilliant, clear-eyed evocation of the collision of families and step-families, adult and childhood worlds. It reaffirms Esther Freud as a distinctive literary voice of her generation and cartographer of the human heart.