Kate's Reviews > Wildthorn

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
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's review
Jun 04, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: 2010, age-ya, historical-fiction, psychological, arcs, glbtq

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 asylum. As Louisa tries to adjust to the harsh life of the asylum and plot her escape, we get flashbacks of her life leading up to now. We see how as a child she wanted to be a doctor like her father, and how she had feelings for her cousin Grace.

I did not trust Louisa as a narrator until close to the end. The idea of a 6-year-old dissecting her doll and keeping a box of preserved things under her bed made me think that maybe she was mad. The idea that she might have been committed because back then it was totally unacceptable for a woman to be a doctor intrigued me, especially connected with Louisa's homosexuality, but the actual reason why she was committed felt random and weird to me, a family conspiracy sort of thing. This is not the first book I've read with the themes of homosexuality mixed with mental hospitals... it was an odd choice to me. Combined with the feminist themes, though, I suppose it works. I guess I just hoped that Louisa would turn out to be a surgical serial killer who had invented a whole other life and would go on cackling away in a padded cell.

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Reading Progress

June 4, 2010 – Started Reading
June 4, 2010 – Shelved
June 17, 2010 – Shelved as: 2010
June 17, 2010 – Shelved as: age-ya
June 17, 2010 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
June 17, 2010 – Shelved as: psychological
June 17, 2010 – Finished Reading
December 24, 2010 – Shelved as: arcs
February 9, 2016 – Shelved as: glbtq

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca I got this at BEA, it seems to be getting mixed reviews so I probably won't read it for a while...

Kate Yeah, I just expected it to be something other than what it was... It also seems strange to me that they are promoting this so heavily for the paperback release, unless the paperback is coming from a different publisher.

message 3: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca it's for the US release which will be in hardcover, it's already out in paperback in England

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