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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  4,062 ratings  ·  523 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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Emily Xaviere There's a fade-out. Implication of sex, no actual sex scene. A ten-year old reading above grade level might really enjoy this book! It's one of my…moreThere's a fade-out. Implication of sex, no actual sex scene. A ten-year old reading above grade level might really enjoy this book! It's one of my favorites to give to 11-teens and adults.(less)
Emily Xaviere I think 10 or 11 reading above grade level. I don't think there's anything inappropriate. There is a kiss or two and a PG-movie-style fade-out at the…moreI think 10 or 11 reading above grade level. I don't think there's anything inappropriate. There is a kiss or two and a PG-movie-style fade-out at the end. I think younger readers could enjoy the adventure and mystery, though they might get more out of a second read later. For most, 13/14 to adult. I give this book to lots of teens and adults.(less)

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
Richard Rider
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Tara Chevrestt
Apr 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aude aux livres
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
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-for-me, lit-fic
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
Educating Drew
Dec 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, ya-love, historical
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
Jenny Q
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definitely a 4.5, but I think for now I'm going to round down to a 4.
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
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing

First of all, this is my kind of book. I love historical fiction and this one was no exception. I wasn't sure what to think of it because I've heard so little about it, but once I started reading I couldn't put this book down.

Imagine if you could be called insane just because you like to read and want to be a doctor. Because you like to learn, and you study. Because you are curious and explore things around you and take things apart to see how they work. And all because your a girl. And then so
I read this novel via NetGalley - I had thought it was a new novel, but then I found that it is being released on paperback. It sounded right up my alley, taking place in a mental hospital in the Victorian era.

Louisa Cosgrove is on her way to be a companion for a family she doesn't know when the carriage stops at a place called Wildthorn and she is told to go inside. There they tell her to remove her clothes, and inform her that her name is Lucy Childs and that she has been committed to a mental
Angela  M
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I don't really read a lot of historical novels, but this one looked so interesting I just had to give it a try. I'm so glad that I did! Wildthorn was an extremely engaging read. I devoured it all in one day. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed it!

Can you imagine being put in a loony bin and being treated like complete crap just because you enjoyed reading and learning new things. Considered morally insane, all because you wanted to be a doctor? Well, that's what happens to poor Louisa. No
Mar 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-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
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 :)
I've had this book for a while after it came highly recommended and I had been a little nervous about starting it. Then I had to for the cutthroat book challenge and found myself flying through it.

Louisa wants to be a doctor in Victorian times. Her family members are not so happy with this so they get her committed to an asylum under a false name. The reasons they were able to do this? Louisa spoke about her wish to be a doctor, she wore an old dress, she travelled without a chaperone and read
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: YA fans, historical fiction fans, thriller/mystery fans
Recommended to M by:

I found Wildthorn's premise and cover art intriguing. The novel itself left me with very mixed impressions. The author built an interesting, informative storyline around a powerful, admirable heroine. Setting and atmosphere portrayed in beautiful language captivated me until I couldn't put the book down. This novel boasts all the earmarks of excellent gothic romance and throws in a pinch of social commentary. Eagland's descriptive writing is well above average, compelling and lyrical.

The plot u
So this was another case of “oh my gosh the cover is so pretty I MUST READ THIS NOW!” Also, I thought the blurb sounded interesting but, as I discovered while reading, I had completely misread the blurb. I don’t know how or why but I was expecting this book to be a fantasy. It really, really was not.

Lousia Cosgrove is leaving her home for the first time, escaping from the poor relationship she has with her mother, and going to work for a family she’s barely ever heard of. When her carriage takes
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, library
I enjoy reading about leading ladies as much as the next leading lady. However, I do prefer reading about them in a historical context, in the words of Jennifer Donnelly, Libba Bray and now, Jane Eagland.

Victorian feminists are great aren’t they? Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove is one of them. Ever since she was young, she has been eager to learn, particularly about science and medicine. Her dream is to become a doctor, like her father. “A woman becoming a doctor? They’ll want to become lawy
Aug 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.

(Tori-Smexybooks) smexys_sidekick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie  from Books Paradise
Eigentlich wollte Louisa Freunde ihres Bruders in Essex besuchen, doch der Kutscher liefert sie auf einem großen, ihr völlig unbekannten Anwesen ab, wo man sie bereits erwartet. Ehe sie es sich versieht, befindet sich Louisa in den Händen von Pflegern einer Anstalt für Geisteskranke. Zunächst ist die junge Frau fest davon überzeugt, dass hier ein Irrtum vorliegt, den sie schnell aufklären kann. Aber jegliches Beteuern ihrer geistigen Gesundheit wird nur als weiteres Anzeichen ihrer Krankheit aus ...more
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