September 26, 2010

Review of "Wildthorn"

Jane Eagland


Pub Date: September 6, 2010
Pages: 350

Synopsis: They strip her naked, of everything—undo her whalebone corset, hook by hook. Locked away in Wildthorn Hall—a madhouse—they take her identity. She is now called Lucy Childs. She has no one; she has nothing. But, she is still seventeen—still Louisa Cosgrove, isn't she? Who has done this unthinkable deed? Louisa must free herself, in more ways than one, and muster up the courage to be her true self, all the while solving her own twisted mystery and falling into an unconventional love...

Originally published in the UK, this well-paced, provocative romance pushes on boundaries—both literal and figurative—and, do beware: it will bind you, too.

When I started reading "Wildthorn", I was a bit confused as to what was going on. I was a little concerned that I was about to be hugely disappointed by this book, but then I realized that I was supposed to be confused. Jane Eagland is able to make the reader feel the confusion that Louisa experiences as she is stripped from her life and put into Wildthorn Hall. I was a little concerned about the switching from present day to Louisa's past, but it worked for me in this book. I felt like I was glimpsing into Louisa's thought process while she tried to figure out why she is in a mental hospital.

One of the best things about this book is that it always kind of leaves you guessing until the end. Things you thought you knew at the beginning of the book are turned on their heads at the end. Characters that you thought were the villains were only pawns and you realize that characters were not the people you thought they were at the beginning. I just felt like none of this book was wasted space.

I love books that are about women who don’t fit into the society they live in. I liked the conflicts between Louisa and her family; I also loved how her father was able to appreciate her passion for medicine. Part of me wonders if this makes me a bit bias, but who doesn’t have their biases? I don’t know if this book will be a hit with all readers. Parts of it were pretty disturbing, especially some of the moments in the asylum, and Louisa’s “unconventional love” may seem a bit shocking for some readers. I thought Eagland did a great job hinting towards this throughout the book, but if you didn’t connect these pieces you may feel it came from left field.

This book is for mature readers who enjoy historical fiction; those who aren’t a fan of historical fiction or books about women who push their roles in society probably won’t enjoy this book. It is a love story and does discuss family roles; it also focuses on finding your place and discovering ones identity, making it a book that teens can relate to.

*I was sent a review copy of "Wildthorn" from the publisher.

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