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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  2,631 ratings  ·  428 reviews
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 ho ...more
Paperback, 359 pages
Published 2010 by Young Picador (first published February 6th 2009)
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Community Reviews

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"Excessive study, especially in one of the fair sex, often leads to insanity."

Imagine that's the norm. Women reading? There must be something wrong with them. Why would they want to study? They're not capable of doing what the men folk can do. They don't have the brains for it. They'd only overexert themselves. Possibly twist their brains into incomprehension trying to process all of information that they could ever hope of processing.

Disregard every freedom you have today. Those TBR piles? Gon
This book is a horror story for every tom-girl and modern woman. Times may be tough, but they certainly could be (and have been) worse. We won't be thrown in an insane asylum for wanting to become educated nor are our fates decided entirely by male relatives. Also, as much as we mock clinics that allow patients to sign in and out at will; it is better than having someone else hold absolute people to our mental health. Wildthorn is not just a great book, it's an important book, as it is was inspi ...more
Pause for a moment, friends, and think of a cool-sounding plot for a teen mystery / romance.

Are you thinking?



You all presumably have much better imaginations than I do, but whatever you thought of is still probably not as cool-sounding as the plot of Wildthorn, namely:

A teenage girl kidnapped from her home and locked in an insane asylum who subsequently falls in love with one of the female servants and must, with her lover’s help, plan her escape before she is actually driven mad, all
Tara Chevrestt
Jul 05, 2010 Tara Chevrestt rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tara by: CLM
I really enjoyed this, but I can see how it may not be for everyone. It's dark, suspenseful, contains some unattractive characters, and touches on a touchy subject: teen lesbianism in Victorian England.

Louisa Cosgrove has a lot on her plate. Her father has just passed away, her mother is grieving, her brother has gambled all his money away, she has some "abnormal" feelings for her cousin, Grace who is about to wed a pompous arse, and she desires to be a doctor in time when women are expected to
Richard Rider
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2011 Rachel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: teen
**Contains minor spoilers**

While I did find this book very easy to read, from the smooth transitions to the depth of characters, there were a few things that bothered me. I'll start my nitpicking at the actual writing. There were a fair amount of typos, which... if you know me, is frustrating. Things like "Was I good child?" or "took if off" and other such problems sometimes made me remember that I was reading someone's first novel, instead of letting me get sucked into the story.

Okay. So ignor
Apr 23, 2009 Oz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Oz by: no one
I was wandering through Waterstones one day looking for new books to read. See I’m a person who tends to buy a book by it’s cover. The cover is the first thing I noticed. What drew me in was the lovely woven Victorian corset, with intricate details and a pretty font with a creative book title.

If a cover is striking triggers something in me, I usually buy the book without reading the blurb,.I do though have to get a good feel of it by reading the first few pages. Then I go on my merry way. I like
Waouh ! C'est ce que j'appelle du roman ! L'histoire de Louisa, envoyée par son frère dans une famille d'un ami après la mort de leur père, mais elle atterrit dans un asile, Wildthorn Hall. Son identité lui est alors retirée, on ne l'appelle plus Louisa, mais Lucy Childs, et personne ne veut croire à son histoire. Ce n'est que lorsqu'elle va tenter de savoir pourquoi elle est ici, et tenter à plusieurs reprises de s'échapper que la vérité va petit à petit être dévoilée. La première partie est tr ...more
Das Cover hat mich sofort angesprochen, es war auch der Hauptgrund warum ich das Buch gekauft habe. Die Autorin ist noch recht unbekannt und leider ist dies ihr einzger Roman der auf deutsch übersetzt worden ist.

Es geht um Louisa, ein Mädchen vom guten Hause, die einen Traum hat: Sie möchte Ärztin werden. Sie ist begabt und klug, ihr Vater liebt sie und sie träumt von einer guten Zukunft. Als sie auf den Weg zu Freunden geschickt wird, ahnt sie nichts böses. Jedoch kommt sie nicht dort an, sond
Christina (Reading Thru The Night)
First and foremost, I must publicly apologize for my lack of follow through and technological un-savyness. I first joined NetGalley back in July and requested Wildthorn for my Kindle. But for one reason or the next, I could never get it loaded. I finally purchased the book and read it on vacation.

And wow! It was so much more than what I hoped for.

What caught my interest in requesting it for a review were two specifics: the setting is both Victorian AND a mental asylum.

Can we all say YES PLEASE
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Louisa Cosgrove has always looked up to her father, a well-respected physician. Only he understands her and her scientific mind, her interest in medicine, which shocks her mother, angers her older brother Tom, and bewilders her favourite cousin, Grace. But when her father dies, Louisa begins to fear that her dreams of studying medicine at the ladies' college in London will never be realised, for it requires money and Tom, studying medicine himself, considers it a completely inappropriate occupat ...more
I'm a little underwhelmed by this one. The twist (the terrible thing Louisa does that she believes to be the reason she gets locked up) wasn't hard to guess, and while Eagland pulls a bait and switch in regards to the guilty party (sort of), there weren't any surprises in this one.

Louisa was sort of tiresome, too. She wishes she were a boy! She wants to study! She wants to be a doctor just like her father! She doesn't do anything on her own to make her dreams happen, just hopes that her mother a
Julia Bishop
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenny Q
From the Back Cover:

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
Wildthorn Hall is an asylum. Its residents are the mentally deficient, the forgotten, and the unwanted. Its galleries, save one, are dark, windowless, and full of female guards with an affinity for inflicting pain on those who cannot defend themselves. Louisa Cosgrove doesn't belong here. Shouldn't be here. She's not insane, she has a strained but still loving relationship with her mother, and she's supposed to be on her way to her new place of employment. There's been a mistake.

Aug 15, 2010 Nafiza rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Wildthorn presents a journey of a girl who dares to be different, dares to be an individual in a world where gender expectations are set, almost in stone. Louisa loves to learn, has a curious inquiring mind and an ambition that is at odds with her gender. In fact, she is considered unnatural because of her bluestocking tendencies. These factors (amongst others) serve to have her incarcerated in an asylum. I think this portion of the book is particularly well done as the author manages to portra ...more
In stories about mental illness, I love it when authors can make me feel just as off-kilter as the protagonist is. Questioning what's real and what isn't pulls me into the story and I can't let go until I finally figure out what's going on! In Wildthorn, Eagland succeeds at this by keeping us in the dark about the protagonist's identity - is she Louisa Cosgrove, or Lucy Childs as the hospital staff insists she is? There's just enough mystery left about some vaguely traumatic incident that for qu ...more
Louisa Cosgrove thinks that she is journeying to spend some time with the Woodvilles, friends of the family. Her world is turned upside down when she realises that she has instead been sent to Wildthorn, a lunatic asylum. What's worse is that the staff at the asylum don't believe her when she tells them that she shouldn't be there and they insist on calling her by a completely different name. Determined to prove that she is sane, Louisa attempts to figure out how she ended up there and how she c ...more
Taizha Ferguson
In the nineteeth century a woman's role was to act like a lady, get married, and have kids. Louisa, however, has no disire to have a husband or kids. Her goal in life is to be a doctor. Her father supports her, while the other half of her family thinks it's an insane idea. Because Louisa refuse to act like society wants her to she is sent to Wildthorn Hall. An asylum for the mental ill. There she and along with other women are verbly abuse, beaten, and starved. They are treated with no respect w ...more
It's impossible not to compare this to Fingersmith -- both are Victorian, young-woman-put-in-asylum, lesbian love stories. And while Wildthorn doesn't come close to matching Fingersmith in terms of complexity, twistiness, authenticity and pure brain consumingness, that's okay. I've only finished Fingersmith the once, but I can see myself picking up Wildthorn again and again, despite its flaws.

The woman-with-modern-sensibilities-in-historical-setting is about my least favourite kind of character
This was very different... This book had an interesting premise, good historical detail of an asylum, but a sidestory that kind of stuck out awkwardly. It was a rather adult YA book, though an entertaining fast read. I think that the whole Grace part was a turn-off... Cousins.... If you don't mind The Godfather Part III, then maybe this is up your alley... It just made the narrator unlikable not to mention the fact that she basically just became a giant stereotype (in the Victorian era, educatio ...more
Anna Matsuyama
Sep 09, 2014 Anna Matsuyama rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sarah Waters fans
Recommended to Anna by: YLTO Low Octane ABC
19th century 70ies, England

Loisa Gosgrove (17) is sent to a mental asylum. Her symptoms includes Excessive book-reading and study leading to a weakness of the mind. Desiring to ape men by nursing an ambition to be a doctor. Self-assertiveness in the place of male authority. Admitted in the Wildthorn by name of Lucy Childs to save her family from disgrace Loisa's fight for survival starts.

I'm not big romance fan but I really was rooting for Loisa and Eliza and would liked to read more about t
Oh my god. One of the best books I have ever read, I loved it so much!!! I didn't want it to end, and could not bear to put it down. Just amazing, and so perfect for ME in every way, it's like the author was looking into my brain or something. Happy happy sighs :)
Bloody Otaku
It's been a really long time since I've read this but I didn't have any time to write anything about it so here's my late review for it :

So this is my first Lesbian novel which I decided to read because I totally loved its cover so I borrowed it from my dear Reemo-chi because she loved it …etc & I gotta admit that it was somehow good & surprisingly it didn’t disgust me (& I’m one who rarely can stand fictional female characters) !

The book had a good idea & the couple was cute a b
Page (One Book At A Time)
I probably won't have read this one initially. But, it came up on netgalley and that was enough for me to request. I was really glad I did.

The story alternates between present day and things in the past. I had to pay attention to the dates of events in the past because the time frame is different. But, all events are keys to what is going on it the present. I was never confused though, probably because the setting of each is easy to pinpoint. The story was gripping and fast paced. I was never bo
Imo :D (Omnom Books)
All i can say is, i really didn't like this book.

It focussed mainly on Louisa's misunderstood admission to Wildthorn hall, a...controversial psychiatric hospital. Whilst Louisa is not insane, and has never been, i found myself growing tired with her increasingly desperate raves about her sanity, and began to wonder if her family had actually done the right thing in sending her there.

For me this is on of thoe books where you can't wait for it to finish, and you only keep reading because you just
Cecilia Solis-sublette
YA literature for lesbians; who woulda thunk? I guess it was a matter of time before I came across a novel like this one. It was hidden well, though, until you are already in the middle of the plot. Let's get to this part, first, and then my honest opinion about the other. This book is most interesting as it is set in 19th century England and explores the idea of women and mental disorder - how a woman could be declared mentally or morally insane because they held different ideas about the socia ...more
Laurie Treacy
Wildthorn is a YA historical novel unlike any others I've read (with the exception of Barbara Quick's A Golden Web). Louisa is such a unique heroine: spunky, independent, untraditional and fiercely intelligent. Those traits made her a likable character. She was a young woman before her time, living in an age where women were born and raised to become wives and mothers. When she expresses a desire to study medicine, her physician father encourages her, while everyone else she knows does not. Afte ...more

“ . . . a girl who studied too much would become ‘dogmatic and presumptuous, self-willed and arrogant, eccentric in dress, and disagreeable in manner.’” (Eagland 82).

Louisa Cosgrove is certainly not the average Victorian young lady. She entertains dreams of becoming a doctor, like her father. She spurns the idea that a woman must be married in order to be complete and happy. She dreams of a world where she is free to be herself. Sadly, in Victorian England, these fanciful ideas are enough to ca
This was a different book. Louisa is committed to an asylum and doesn't know why or who put her there. She is given a different name and no one believes her when she tries to tell them who she really is. Louisa is really just a girl who is different from other girls of her time. She is independent and strong-willed. She wants to be a doctor and she never wants to get married. Unfortunately, her family doesn't like her ambitions.

I thought the portrayal of the asylum was really interesting. It re
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