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The Thorn and the Blossom
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Retellings > Thorn and Blossom - Spoilers

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message 1: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1388 comments Mod
A place to discuss the book with spoilers.


Margaret | 3559 comments Mod
Finished this last night, and it wasn't as good as I expected. I've loved every short story I've read by Theodora Goss, and the writing was still good in Thorn and Blossom, but I don't really enjoy straight romances that much.

I did enjoy the arthurian legend bits; I love Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I have never heard of Elowen and the giants, though, and can't find anything on the internet about it. Is that legend made up; does anyone know?

And was Isabel supposed to be Morva? I think she was, based on Evelyn's vision of her, I think she says her eyes look hateful, or something like that. But if so, Isabel is never described otherwise to be like Morva. Her story is quite tragic, to me.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
I think the legend is made up, actually. I don't remember anything like it from Arthurian legend - though granted it's been a couple of decades since I read the major works.

There's a Q&A with Goss on the Amazon product page, and another one here, and it doesn't mention any particular source material and I think it would, if it was there!

It does say that the format came first, then the story was constructed with the format in mind.

I'm not sure if Isabel is Morva or if she's just the curse's method of working in this generation. Shrug. I wasn't entirely thrilled with the ending. You've got these supernaturally star-crossed lovers, and I got the impression their curse wasn't lifted yet, but they're likely to meet up again just pages after the book is over?

It sort of seems like cheating to me to end the book that way.


Margaret | 3559 comments Mod
I agree about the ending. Things were too convenient as well, I thought. I mean, his wife just happens to die right when Evelyn shows up. They just happen to work at the same college, etc. The plot seemed to fitted and unnatural.

It's interesting reading the Q&A. She says she had never written a romance before, and that she typically isn't drawn to them. Also, I thought Evelyn's perspective better written, and Goss mentions that she based much of the novel on her own life, but the examples she lists are all on Evelyn's side. I wonder if this is why I thought her perspective worked better. Though I also thought the visions were interesting, and Brendan didn't have anything supernatural going for him:)If anything, I might have liked it better if it was all Evelyn's pov, and there was more about her visions.

I thought this was the end of the 1000 year cycle, mainly because of the poem Evelyn was writing at the end, the 10 lives of Elowen and Gawan. However, 10 lives wouldn't be 1000 years. But they're in the same town, so surely they're going to get together! Yeah, it was cheating there at the end.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Except the relevant stanza of the poem is about finding contentment in this life, even without having romance. Or at least, I thought so... Do I need to go back and re-read this portion?


Margaret | 3559 comments Mod
The last line for Evelyn says, "tenth life--not peace, but fulfillment." I took fulfillment as she will find him, and no, their lives haven't been perfect and peaceful, but they will find one another. Especially given Brendan's email. However, Evelyn doesn't know for certain she will find him, so I think the last line also says that's she's okay with herself if she doesn't see him again.

That's how I interpreted it anyway! It would have been neat to include the poems at the end, though the format would have made that difficult.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
I interpreted it the opposite way -- Peace meaning a future relationship and fulfillment maybe meaning career based (i.e. being a poet/scholar).

Maybe I was biased because I actually wanted them NOT to get back together. (I'm not much of a romantic!) I should reread the last few pages, I suppose and see if it strikes me differently with what you said in mind.


Margaret | 3559 comments Mod
When I was a teen I was a complete romantic; now that I'm married I'm like, That's not how it is:)


message 9: by Jalilah (last edited Dec 15, 2013 05:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jalilah | 4352 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "Finished this last night, and it wasn't as good as I expected. I've loved every short story I've read by Theodora Goss, and the writing was still good in Thorn and Blossom, but I don't really enjoy..."

I took it to be that Isabel is the reincarnation of Morva because of the hateful way she looks at Evelyn.

Was anyone else annoyed with her (Evelyn) when she runs out screaming for the second time? The first time was understandable. She was young and it had never happened before and she had already had a history of mental illness. When Brendan transforms into the Green Knight for the second time in the hospital however, it just seems like Evelyn should have known better by then. She just seemed very ridiculous to me.

The ending I understood that they would eventually get back together and that Evelyn and Brendan had understood (finally) that they were the same characters in the tale they both did their thesis on.

Most of the books that I really love have some kind of love story in them, but the love story is just one aspect in the entire plot and not the main subject matter.


Margaret | 3559 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "Margaret wrote: "Finished this last night, and it wasn't as good as I expected. I've loved every short story I've read by Theodora Goss, and the writing was still good in Thorn and Blossom, but I d..."

I did think it a bit ridiculous when Evelyn ran the second time. I actually thought it odd when she ran the 1st time too. I think I would be startled and frightened, but I would also be concerned about the health of the person who I at least semi-care about turning into a green man, and stick around to make sure he was okay.

Most books I read have love stories too. If the love story had been part of Evelyn's discovery of the validity behind her hallucinations, I would probably have enjoyed it more. I needed something else in the plot besides the love story.


message 11: by Jalilah (last edited Dec 17, 2013 12:44PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jalilah | 4352 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: Most books I read have love stories too. If the love story had been part of Evelyn's discovery of the validity behind her hallucinations, I would probably have enjoyed it more. I needed something else in the plot besides the love story. ..."

I agree! I felt like Evelyn never dealt with her "hallucinations" and I like you, I would have preferred a story about that. They could have still ended up together in the end, but the story would have been richer and more interesting.


Jalilah | 4352 comments Mod
And it is strange that after Evelyn gets her PhD in the subject of the Green Man or Green Knight and it never occurred to her that she had "The Sight"!


Margaret | 3559 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "And it is strange that after Evelyn gets her PhD in the subject of the Green Man or Green Knight and it never occurred to her that she had "The Sight"!"

I agree!


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