Monday, August 16, 2010

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Title/Author: Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
Publisher/Publication date: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September 6th 2010
How I got it: I requested it via NetGalley as an ARC and got it from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Why I read it: I love historical fiction and YA, so those two combined are sure to be a winner

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.

Louisa isn't one to conform to society's idea of what a proper lady should be like. She doesn't like dressing up and calling on neighbours, instead she wants to be a doctor, like her father. This is in a time when being a doctor is still seen as a man's job and studying for women is unseemly in many people's opinion.
Louisa struggles to be taken seriously, both in the asylum when she claims she's not crazy and when she tells her family she wants to study medicine at the only school in London that accepts women.

I really liked Louisa, the first person narrative really draws you in. I felt really indignant when I read about the view people had on women wanting to study medicine (me doing the same right now). This is what's said in her file:
"Facts indicating insanity:
An interest in medical matters inappropriate for one of her age and sex.
Excessive book-reading and study leading to weakening of the mind."

I mean: WHAT??? So you see, every one of you reading this is probably mad, I mean excessive book-reading would do the trick for most of us. And I'm a total goner, cause I qualify for both. How can reading weaken your mind??

The author shows you Louisa's childhood through flashbacks, which slowly explain everything that's happening. I guessed pretty early on what had happened between Louisa and her cousin, but I was actually surprised to find out who had her committed to Wildthorn and how deep the betrayal really went. You think you know someone and sometimes you just don't know what they are really capable of.

I liked how their was real character development, Louisa grows due to her time in the asylum and her mother also becomes a whole lot stronger. I did see the lovestory part of it coming for ages, but it was really sweet and I liked the ending.

I would recommend this book to anyone who, like me, has a love for historical fiction and YA.
My rating: 4 stars


  1. This sounds like a fascinating read! I guess I also qualify as crazy because of excessive book reading!

  2. Ooh, this looks really good. Thanks for the review! I'm going to add it to my tbr pile.

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    A Tapestry of Words

  4. Nice review, I've been on the fence about getting this book, but I think you just tipped me over to the "buy" side.

  5. Nice review. lol yes, right, indignant is the perfect word for the views society have on women in this book. I was all about punching her cousin's fiance in the face. Books like this and movies like Ghosts of Mississippi and A Time to Kill get me worked up because some people are ust so stubbornly backwards-thinking and wrong, it's frustrating to know that people like that exist, or that it was okay to think that way at one time, and that hurt people and impacted lives like Louisa's.

    I'll agree the romance was easy to see coming, but I was curious as to how they were going to resolve it, so that lent some tension to that whole aspect of the story.

    But yeah, great book :D And thanks for your comment on my review :)