Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wildthorn (YA)


Wildthorn. Jane Eagland. 2010. September 2010. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 352 pages.

The carriage jolts and splashes along the rutted lanes flooded by the heavy November rains.

Wildthorn is set in Victorian England.

Louisa Cosgrove is in for quite a shock. Someone has committed her to an insane asylum. Under the false name, Lucy Childs, Louisa is being held against her will, drugged against her will. Will anyone within the asylum believe her story? Will anyone believe that she is who she says she is? Louisa learns that one of the surest ways to prove you're insane is to try to prove to strangers just how sane you are.

There is someone who believes her story. Someone who comes to love her very deeply. Someone determined to help her escape.

Who is Louisa? She's a woman who dreams of more. She's a woman who does not believe in conformity. She's a woman who'd rather have a career, than a family. A woman who has little use for marriage and children. A woman who is undeniably attracted to other women, though she keeps this from her family, of course. The more her family tells her that she cannot possibly be a doctor (like her father), the more determined she is that she can and will succeed. But is being a nonconformist proof of insanity? Just why is she in Wildthorn?

The novel is told through a series of flashbacks. In alternating chapters, readers see defining moments in Louisa's life. We see her curiosity, her stubbornness, her independence, her determination. Does Louisa have the strength to survive even this? Does she have the resourcefulness to plan her escape?

Wildthorn is an almost novel for me. It wasn't quite what I was expecting. I'm not sure the synopsis on the back cover does it justice. "Louisa Cosgrove is Louisa Cosgrove--not Lucy Childs. Or is she?" Hinting that there could be an unreliable narrator. Like Louisa could be suffering a mental breakdown. But. Nothing is further from the truth. Louisa never questions her identity. There is a mystery in Wildthorn--but it is always the mystery of who locked Louisa away. Who in her life betrayed her...

The novel has strengths, but it is not flawless.

*Reviewed from an ARC

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Jeanne C. 11:16 AM  

Can't wait to read this one! Thanks for the review!

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
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  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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