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The Thorn and the Blossom

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,412 ratings  ·  378 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
Hardcover, 82 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Quirk Books
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Average rating 3.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,412 ratings  ·  378 reviews

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Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-reads, romances
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
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Beautiful but could have been richer in events..

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 in the old book itself . . ."

Evelyn, an american wealthy girl, litt student in Oxford, decides to spend a week in Cornwall to write something other than -according to professor Lambert- he
Lisa Wolf
I'm in love.

With the gorgeousness of this book.

The Thorn and the Blossom is just a treat to hold and unfold. Yes, unfold. It's described as a "two-sided love story", and that's literally what it is. This book has two hardcover covers, but no spine. It opens accordion-style, so you can read it from either end. The two versions of the story complement each other. Each side is about 35 pages, so this is a quick read, but utterly enchanting.

Okay, so I've described the outside of the book. What a
Oct 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Mathias Malzieu, the singer of the French music band, Dionysos, has quoted while saying about "love":

“We love each other like matches in the dark. We don't talk, we catch fire instead”

Theodora Goss, an American author, has weaved a sweet fairy tale in her new book, The Thorn and the Blossom .


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 did not know she would m
Athena Shardbearer
Sep 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance

I’m totally a Shardbearer!

So this morning was not such a great morning. I woke up late, forgot to wash my hair last night, the puppies had accidents in their kennels, forgot to write a check for my daughters school pictures…the day was not going so well :(

Until this baby was in the pile of yesterdays mail. I would like to thank Quirk Books Publishing for sending me a copy of The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss. I was not expecting this in the mail! WOOP WOOP!!!

Look at the detail and the
Apr 29, 2017 rated it liked it
If I was giving out an award for most creative book format The Thorn and the Blossom would win it hands down. Instead of a normal book you have an accordion style binding that allows you to read two different views of the same story depending on which side you start from. The book is held together in a cardboard sleeve to stop it unfolding when on the shelf.

One side of the book introduces Evelyn, a young woman with an interest in medieval literature who is in Cornwall on holiday after finish
Yelda Basar Moers
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, love
This book was incredibly disappointing for me! No substance here and not much of a tale; I don't know what to make of this book. Is it a book? No, it's more of a short tale (less than 40 pages each for the two tales). The characters were flat and there was not much of a story or plot. It's incredibly short and devoid of any details. I found it insipid and cliche and do NOT recommend it to my Goodreads friends! ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
Like most other readers, I was drawn to this little book by the format: an accordion book with the same story from two different perspectives printed on either side of the pages, so that you can start from either direction and get a different version. How cool is that? Answer: very cool.

The story is a well-written little romance that can be read in a sitting (each story has 36 pages of text). While the structure is traditional, the author’s writing makes it feel fresh, and I was drawn into Evely
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
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
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, fantasy, arcs
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
Amy A
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book as an object is beautiful indeed. However, the writing felt extremely two-dimensional. I'm only rating this one as high because the packaging is truly a work of art.
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a cool artifact/book that folds up and out like an Escherian accordion with two different viewpoints of the same story printed on the reverse sides of the stiff pages. It's a neat gimmick, but somewhat limited by the fact that each story has to be exactly the same length, and the length is limited by the nature of the design, so there's a little lack in detail and character depth. Still, it's a nicely told fairy-tale like romance between two star-crossed youngsters who grow close and the ...more
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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,
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 w
Danielle N
I was drawn to The Thorn and the Blossom with its charming synopsis and unique, parallel narrative. The writing was quaint and picturesque, creating a fluid and inviting read that unfolded easily over a cup of tea. I did, however, find the story to lack in substance. Maybe this can be partially attributed to brevity. But for some much "occurring" between our protagonists, it felt like so very little. The outcome was less than gratifying. 3 stars for presentation and a concept that I feel could h ...more
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
I'm only six years late to the party, but finally got around to reading Goss's fine, viridescent THE THORN AND THE BLOSSOM. Many thoughts, but instead of trying to explicate away its charm & beauty, I'll leave you with this African proverb:

"For the beauty of the rose we also water the thorns."
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 i ...more
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a beautiful little book... it looks so good on a book shelf... just the look of it deserves 5 stars!
But when I have to rate the story... then the only thing I can say ... at least it was short.

What bothered me the most was that a grown-up woman would constantly run away like that and not apologize for this irritating behavior as soon as possible. And sadly, the two main characters stayed flat... never really coming to life. This story is not for me.
Feb 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lter, 3-star
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
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sff, romance
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
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Jan 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This is a very beautifully produced book. Presented in a slip case, the volume within folds like an accordion, allowing you to finish one of the two parallel stories within and then turn around and read the other one. The stories themselves tell you the tale of the relationship between an American woman and a British man who meet in Cornwall, find each other, lose each other, find each other again and lose each other once again. By the end of the stories they are both in Cornwall again. Apart fr ...more
🌟Head in the Stars🌟
Caught between 3.5 and 4 stars. I really think this should have been a full length novel, at least 200 pages. It had so much potential. On my Nook it was 55 pages long and in print I think it was 82 pages. A novella really. This story of star-crossed lovers was told in two POVs, the first half being Evelyn and the second half Brendan. It was fast paced featuring the King Arthur legends and with subtle magical elements. The romance wasn’t overwhelming, in fact I wish it could have been more passi ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
A scholarly love story told from 2 povs, depending on which way direction you read the book. Beautifully constructed with interesting scholarship on Gawain and the Green Knight and similar medieval tales. An effective shorter tale.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This is one of those book that in concept and theory I would love. Star cross lovers, Medieval tale mixed with lives a thousand years after. I even liked the idea of two perspectives of the story offered uniquely through the accordion binding.

There is so much to go for in this book, but the storytelling missed in so many places. The idea of alternating perspective was weakly pulled through. The author repeated line for line certain parts which I felt could have been executed differently. The who
Kathy Martin
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Thorn and the Blossom is an easy read, but it's one that is mesmerizing. Each page I was more and more impressed. Everything from the literature references, to the ways their narratives interacted, and more. The Thorn and the Blossom is a unique book that makes it perfect for a gift for romance lovers, for your friends who believe in destiny, and literature lovers alike. T
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
**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
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Theodora Goss was born in Hungary and spent her childhood in various European countries before her family moved to the United States, where she completed a PhD in English literature. She is the World Fantasy and Locus Award-winning author of the short story and poetry collections In the Forest of Forgetting (2006), Songs for Ophelia (2014), and Snow White Learns Witchcraft (2019), as well as novel ...more

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