Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: February 6, 2009
Pages: 359
Source: purchased
Buy It: Amazon / Borders / Barnes & Noble
Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself - and others - in order to be set free. And love may be the key... --Goodreads
Louisa Cosgrove has harbored the notion of being a doctor. Growing up in historical England is difficult enough with that dream, but when her father-- the only one who had encouraged her to follow her heart-- dies, she looks to her brother for the permission to apply to the School of Medicine. He refuses. She visits Grace, her cousin and Louisa discovers that her feelings lie deeper than she thought. With the intention of going to work at the Woodvilles, she is put in an asylum under the name Lucy Childs. Love may be the only thing that saves her from insanity.

I went into this novel blindly, really not knowing what was in store. I came out liking it very much. Why only "like?" Because I sort of had high hopes for it and they fell a little bit short.

I loved some of the characters. Louisa is such a strong character. I loved the way she conducted herself in the asylum. If I was stuck in an asylum, I would be anything but calm and collected. Eliza was unfortunately a forgettable character. She seemed a bit generic-- the shy, kind girl. However I enjoyed reading about her and in a lot of ways she reminded me of myself at times. Now Eliza and Louisa's relationship was a different story altogether. As friends, they were okay together, but there was really no connection. I felt Eagland should have put more character development if she has wanted to further their relationship. The ending with Louisa and Eliza was rushed and awkward-- the whole social status issue between them seemed overdone and I could not fathom why Eliza wanted to be a maid where Lousia had offered her a choice to be more than that.

The layout of the asylum seemed a bit like Shutter Island to me. All of the different levels Wildthorn held reflected the historic England-feel with their different social status. Eagland's world was unique and I enjoyed it.

Her writing style, however, was like a roller coaster. At times, it was slow paced and dull but at other times, it seemed to go so fast. Her writing held too much repetition, though her imagery and descriptions was lovely. Overall, it was a good book. If you enjoy historical fiction and strong characters, you might like this book.

First Sentence:
"The carriage jolts and splashes along the rutted lanes flooded by the heavy November rains."
Wildthorn by Jane Eagland, p. 1 

Cover: 5
Plot: 4
Characters: 4
Ending: 4
Writing Style: 3
Overall: 4

Rated PG-13 for scary themes, some violence, brief nudity, and sexual references.

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  1. Great review. The cover looks great but it is really not the book for me. I'm glad you reviewed it because I've been curious.