The Thorn and the Blossom
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The Thorn and the Blossom

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3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  608 ratings  ·  217 reviews
One enchanting romance. Two lovers keeping secrets. And a uniquely crafted book that binds their stories forever.

When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers...more
Hardcover, 82 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Quirk Books
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Hannah
Rating Clarification: 1.5 Stars

I'm bummed I wasn't as taken with this story as I hoped to be. After all, it involves (cue Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music) "a few of my favorite things":

1. A Cornish setting
2. A quaint bookstore
3. A hunky Brit hero
4. A fairy tale/legend about Sir Gawain, the Green Knight, and Queen Elowen
5. Lost loves/past lives intertwining throughout the centuries
6. A beautiful cover (one of the most beautiful I've personally ever seen)
7. A very cool book design, with an a...more
Nikki
Lent to me by a friend (thanks!) -- I received it in the post today and read it this evening in one go. It's a pair of connected novellas/short stories, which cover more or less the same events from the point of view of the two main participants. It doesn't really matter which you read first: each illuminates and complements the other. It's a lot of fun, actually: the physical copy of the book has concertina pages, so you read it one way, turn it round, and read back the other. It's a very nice...more
Amy A
I will be honest. The thing that attracted me first to this book was the different way in which it was packaged, an "accordian style binding". The whole concept was pretty clever I thought, one story told from two different people's perspectives.

The underlyning message of the story was not cloaked by any means. The reader knows right away who the characters are / were and the fate that they face, but instead of making the story boring it was more interesting to be able to pick out the details o...more
Kelly
Evelyn and Brendan are both students at Oxford when they meet in the tiny Cornish town of Clews, where Evelyn is taking a much-needed break and Brendan is working in his father's bookstore. A romance begins to bloom between the two, and Brendan shares with Evelyn his favorite legend: a local Arthurian variant about star-crossed lovers Gawan and Elowen. Then something uncanny occurs, and Evelyn and Brendan part and lose touch. Ten years later they meet again while teaching at Bartlett College in...more
Samantha
Mar 12, 2012 Samantha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of star-crossed lovers and Medieval tales
Recommended to Samantha by: Patricia
Note: This review will be done in 3 parts. One for each version of the story and then the final for an overview of the entire story as a whole. I began with Brendan's Story.

Brendan's Story:
In this part, we are introduced to Brendan Thorne. He lives in Clewes, where he helps his father with the Thorne & Son bookstore. This part left my heart aching with romantic longing. I was really hoping they would end up together. This is exactly the kind of romance I enjoy. One where there are obstacles...more
Bonnie
I received this book courtesy of Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.

Have patience, love, and we shall meet again
As surely as wild roses have their thorns
For weary years eventually pass.


The 'Thorn and the Blossom' is quite literally a "two-sided love story" about Brendan Thorne and Evelyn Morgan. Intertwined with their love story is the tale of Elowen, queen of Cornwall and Gawan and their own timeless love story. Brendan and Evelyn first meet when she walks into Brendan's family bookst...more
Misty
I'm a fan of Quirk Books. They're always looking for ways to challenge the status quo a bit, try something new, and I appreciate that. (And with hits like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children to their name, they aren't doing a bad job of it, either.) So I'm always curious to see what they have planned next. But The Thorn and the Blossom surprised even me. I mean, I knew of accordion bindings in a sort of abstract way, as something that's just not done. And yet, here they are, doing it.
And...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I can't review this book without first commenting on the physical design. Accordion-style, printed on both sides, the book doesn't have a spine. That forces you to hold the book carefully, almost cradling it, which (for me) enhanced the sort of magical-artifact-found-in-my-grandmother's-attic artifact nature that I ate up. I suppose others will find it gimmick-y, but I was immediately charmed.

The book tells the same story from two different viewpoints, that of Evelyn, an American medievalist who...more
Isa Lavinia
Originally posted at Paperback Wonderland.

Never judge a book by its cover.
I already knew this and yet, here I am.

This is, quite easily, one of the prettiest books I own. The book itself, as an object, is worth a whole star (perhaps even more...).

Now the story...
First of all, and this is important, it's not badly written.
The dialogue is a bit trite and at times unbelievable, but other than that it's fine.

The plot hinges on a cliché I personally hate: that of star crossed lovers who will fall i...more
Beth
This is a beautiful novella. The book is accordion-bound telling two sides of a wonderfully told love story. The book is housed in a gorgeous slip cover. The artwork is stunning. This is one book I highly recommend buying the print version versus the e-book edition. The quality of the paper and cover are extraordinary!

One side tells the story from Evelyn's viewpoint. Evelyn travels to Cornwall for a week, where she meets Brendan in a bookstore. They both discover their common love for medieval l...more
Tracey, librarian on strike
Whatever else there is to say about this book, it's a lovely concept, and beautifully executed. It is called a "Two-Sided Love Story", and this is literal: we are able to read the story from the point of view of each of the lovers. Rather than being bound like an ordinary book, the pages are strung together in accordion folds, sandwiched between two very pretty covers, and encased in a gorgeous slipcover. When one story is finished, the book is turned around, and the end of one leads into the be...more
Sapphyria
**4 1/2 Stars**

This is one of the most unique novels and I'm glad I was given a chance to read and review this. I may not have discovered this literary gem otherwise.

When Evelyn, an American, makes an impromptu visit across the ocean to Cornwall, she hopes to just get away from it all for a week; Oxford and her studies, her parents...She wasn't counting on meeting Brendan Thorne and forming a connection to him. While walking through a forest together near the end of her week-long vacation, Brend...more
Alex Maidy
I do not think I would have picked up this book if it were not for the unique binding. Having read Mark Z. Danielewski's two-sided novel Only Revolutions, I was intrigued by another attempt at the dual story printed on opposite sides of the same physical book. Where Danielewski's novel was almost impenetrable (you had to flip the book every nine pages), Goss has achieved an interesting balance here. You truly can read either story first and it does affect the other.

The basic premise is two Oxfor...more
Kathy Martin
Usually when I am reading a story, the format doesn't matter to me - ebook, paperback, hardcover, PDF, or computer file are all just vehicles for the story and quickly fade into the background. But with this book it mattered. Initially, I didn't know how to hold this book. It kept falling into its accordion folds and ending up in my lap. I almost felt like it needed one of those reading stands that you see in medieval book rooms along with the white, acid-free gloves you wear to not damage the p...more
Sari
This is a love story - the story of Evelyn and Brendan. I really enjoyed this book - the format is something I think a lot of people will be talking about. It's printed "accordion-style" and you can either read Evelyn's story first or Brendan's, it doesn't really matter, they both read from front to back, from different ends of the book.

Evelyn is an American who sometimes "sees things" and is always being told she's too imaginative for her own good and that she needs to get more serious with her...more
Res
Jun 13, 2013 Res rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: romance, sff
The reversible book that tells the story of a romance separately from each character's point of view.

I expected more. I mean, it would be very tricky to do this, not knowing which story the reader would read first, but if I read the same events twice from different POVs, I expect that the second story will in some way change the meaning of the first one, or shed new light on it, or whatever. Instead, frankly this just felt like reading the same story twice.

Also, maybe I'm too old and grumpy for...more
Rebecca
When I was contacted to review The Thorn and the Blossom the design and description made me say "yes" immediately. So often I will read one POV in a book and wonder what the other main character is thinking. I had never read an accordion-bound book before, it was a bit tricky to figure out how to hold at first. But, I like the way Evelyn and Brendan’s covers are done. The slipcover that The Thorn and the Blossom is classically beautiful.

I started with Evelyn’s side of the story. I enjoyed Evelyn...more
Sofia Samatar
I've read a number of reviews of this book online. People are generally enthusiastic about the accordion book concept and the sheer beauty of The Thorn and the Blossom as a physical object, and rightly so. Many seem to have read it because they were so attracted to its material form, and to have approached it with excited cries of "The packaging! The packaging!" I, on the other hand, approached with cries of "The Goss! The Goss!"

So this is a Goss reader's review, because I have been in love with...more
Lauren
The Thorn and the Blossom is a short novel that tells the tale of Evelyn Morgan and Brendan Thorne. They first meet when Evelyn is visiting the small town of Clews, where Brendan runs his family bookstore. From there, the two young lovers embark on a journey where they discover things about each other, about history, and about themselves.

Evelyn is an intelligent, determined young woman. She is a professor who enjoys literature, history, and tall tales. When Brendan and Evelyn meet, they bond ove...more
Larou
Feb 19, 2012 Larou added it
Shelves: 2012-02, fantasy
I do like my Kindle, and after having owned it for ten months and using it extensively I would not want to miss it. And while it is extremely convenient and very much to be preferred over most physical books which these days are more often than not badly designed, badly bound and badly printed in a miniature font that gives you a headache after ten minutes of reading, there still are (and likely will remain) some things that simply cannot be done with an e-book.[return][return]The Blossom and th...more
Amy Lignor
A truly original story where the plot is as unique as the book, itself. Set up in an accordion-fold format, one ‘side’ of this book is told from Evelyn’s point of view. Evelyn is a girl who has had a bit of an issue all her life. When she was younger she had hallucinations, like fairies and trolls in her backyard. She’d been placed on medication by a doctor and went on to live a semi-normal life. Her parents are very wealthy and live in Boston. Her father is a lawyer and has been waiting for Eve...more
Stephanie D.
I have been a fan of Theodora Goss's strange yet elegant fantasy short stories for some years now, so when I found about The Thorn and The Blossom, I was immediately interested. And when I heard about its unique, two-sided format, which correlated with the love story being told twice, each from the different perspectives of the protagonists, I was even more smitten.

I was overjoyed to receive what appeared to be the finished (or very close to it) copy: a beautiful hardcover tome in its own case,...more
Karissa
I got a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This was a beautifully written and hauntingly romantic read. It is a very short read, but the way the book is put together is interesting and unique.

Evelyn has been haunted by hallucinations of fairies and other fantastical things much of her life. Then she decides to spend a summer in a small English village and meets Brendan in a bookstore. The two get along famously until Evelyn starts to see things again and flees...more
Liza Wiemer
My elder son Justin had Professor Theodora Goss for a class at Boston University his freshman year (he's a junior now). He has always spoken so highly of Prof. Goss that I was excited to read her two-sided love story. Incredible. I started with Brendan's story. The story was so engrossing. I loved his perspective on his relationship with Evelyn. I loved the mystical aspect of their relationship and the medieval connection with THE TALE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT. Magic, romance.
Evelyn's story bought an...more
Michelle
One cannot discuss The Thorn and the Blossom and not discuss the book’s format. Reading it takes some adjustments, as without a traditional spine, it is all too easy to let the book open up completely, exposing all of its accordion pages. Once a reader gets the hang of holding the book and reading it, the format itself disappears, allowing the reader to focus on the story itself.

Reading such a two-sided novel is especially appealing to readers who always wondered what other characters were think...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
I have to start with this actual physical book. If you read my blog, you might be aware that I don't accept books for review. Reading on a schedule was starting to feel like work, so I decided to just say no to free books and read what I want when I want. It works better for me. I still get the occasional pitch and I will glance through them but I ultimately move on.

The pitch I got for The Thorn and the Blossom was different. "As for the unique format, The Thorn and the Blossom intertwines Evely...more
Jessica Jeffers
Let me start by saying that I love Quirk Books. They do a lot of unique and interesting things with the books they choose to publish. I've long said that working at Quirk would be my dream job, especially after I got to meet a few members of their tiny staff during grad school. Unfortunately, that small staff means that they never seem to hire anything expect unpaid interns. Maybe one day (if I could reconcile the fact that I'd have to move back to Philadelphia).

Anyway: the subtitle of this boo...more
Sara Q
Apr 15, 2012 Sara Q rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sara Q by: LibraryThing
This is a cool little book, bound in accordion style with two different perspectives on the same story - a woman's on one side and a man's on the other. Mark read aloud Evelyn's story and I read aloud Brendan's story. It's a love story but with more emphasis on the growth and development of the characters than on their romance. The story also ties together the mythologies of the Green Man and Sir Gawain the Green Knight in some interesting ways.

My biggest complaint is just that there wasn't eno...more
Dannielle R
The cover design is what drew me to this book; add an interesting title and premise and I quickly downloaded this novel (or should I say short story given the length) from my digital library.

I don't exactly wish I hadn't simply because it honestly didn't take up too much of my time, but I really was expecting more.

I, like many others, found the writing to be trite, a bit unbelievable (especially some of the dialogue), and rather clichéd. I hate to say it, but it was. The romance/sex scene was cr...more
Jessica Buraslan
I was caught by the pretty cover and lovely art, and bought it without even reading the notes about it. What a huge mistake.
It looks like a fan fiction, to tell you the truth. I mean, it's a teen-lovely-dovely-sped-up story with no serious background.
Just like a chronicle or something. It's something I could easily find on the Internet on those beginners sites.
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Theodora Goss's publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a two-sided novella in an accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula,...more
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In the Forest of Forgetting The Rose in Twelve Petals Voices from Fairyland: The Fantastical Poems of Mary Coleridge, Charlotte Mew, and Sylvia Townsend Warner Songs for Ophelia Oz Reimagined: Lost Girls of Oz

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