Lead Review

  • Book: The Wild Girls
  • Location: Botswana
  • Author: Phoebe Morgan

Review Author: tripfiction



Two years ago Felicity, Alice, Grace and Hannah had a reasonably good friendship group in London, which had endured through their teenage years. For sure they had their difficult dynamics and personalities clashed. But something went deeply wrong and it affected all of them in different ways. They carry the memories of what happened with them but haven’t been in touch since.

Now, Felicity – living in New York – takes the initiative and invites the other three to join her at a luxury lodge in Botswana for the weekend. She is funding the entire trip for all of them. She is turning thirty and it is perhaps the time to bury the proverbial hatchets.

We glimpse each woman’s character and get a sense of their role within the group. Thus, the three arrive after an 11 hour flight (a kind of unlikely destination for a girl’s weekend, I would have thought), they are picked up by limousine transfer and driven to the accommodation, which appears to be in the middle of nowhere. A welcome dinner has been laid on and Felicity asks to be excused until the morning, as she is feeling unwell. They enjoy their fine dining, sip the wine and generally get in the mood for the party they are expecting the following evening.

But of course things do not go as they have anticipated and soon little personalised notes are finding their way to the relevant people, cryptic and cruel, and surely it can only be the hand of Felicity? As the tension rises, they plan their escape… but they don’t even know where they are, there is limited phone signal, they are frightened and essentially they are on their own. They are not even sure who the enemy is from whom they are running.

Think locked room mystery, only this is a locked lodge mystery. As the girls’ terror rises, the stakes get higher.

The author is good at pacing out a good story with plenty of twists and turns, implausible at times but gripping to keep the reader well focussed and guessing.

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A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

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First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

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Entries close 6th November 2021