by Jane Eagland


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547370170
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/06/2010
Pages: 350
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: HL630L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Born in Essex, Jane Eagland taught English in secondary schools for many years. She earned an MA in Creative Writing and has worked as a tutor. She published Wildthorn in 2010, having been inspired by true stories of women who were incarcerated in asylums in the nineteenth century. 

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Wildthorn 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an instant fav. All the twists and turns in this book you will be talking outloud to the charcters in this book! And oh god the ending blew my mind!!! I loved this book! Please read!
insertbooktitle More than 1 year ago
Wildthorn was definitely a different kind of novel. Jane is an excellent author who weaves the scene into reality with her words, and she creates a very believable atmosphere. Louisa was a brave young woman. Not only did she defy society's ideals with her choice of occupation, but also with her choice of lover. I will not lie...that part threw me for a bit, but I chose to overlook it and enjoy the novel for what it was. Eliza was a very kind and courageous character. She helped Louisa knowing that she could be caught and dismissed from her post...or worse. I really liked her, and I became fond of her quickly. Louisa's brother (and some of her other relatives) were a little messed up. I just wanted to strangle them for all the pain they caused her. Jane creates a very believable environment in the asylum. Some of the acts committed there were enough to make me cry at the injustice of it. She is a very good author, and I hope to read more from her in the future.
SenoraG163 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
"Excessive study, especially in one of the fair sex, often leads to insanity..."The Dangers of Excessive Learning: (girls who studied too much would become) "dogmatic and presumptuous, self-willed and arrogant, eccentric in dress and disagreeable in manner."Can you imagine living in times when this was the norm? When you could be deemed insane because you didn't want to be a housewife and mommy? Sounds crazy to us and we are lucky to live in the age that we do.This book was one hell of a ride! From page one I was grabbed by the throat and carried along. The writing was so alive that I felt like I was in Louise's body feeling the fear, the anger, the confusion that she was. I was in that asylum with her and it was as horrible to read as it had to be to live it. The fact that this book is based on true stories turns me stomach even more.I accused everyone in her family but was floored by the events that came out as the book went along. (Can't go into detail, read the book!!!) I loved the relationship between Louisa and Grace but at the same time I wanted to shake some sense into Grace!Eliza was a godsend. From the moment she entered the story to the end, she was an angel in disguise.I am not sure that I liked the ending but I did understand why it ended as it did. That's all you are getting from me. Find this book and read it. It says Young Adult but I wouldn't have called it that.Recommended to anyone, females especially and yes, young adults so they can appreciate what they have and what people had to endure do they could have it.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Summary: Louisa Cosgrove thinks she's going to be a companion to the daughter of a family that's friendly with her brother - something she's not exactly looking forward to, but neither can she stay at home after everything that's happened. But when the carriage stops at the door not of a manner house but of the Wildthorn Asylum, Louisa realizes she's been tricked. The doctors there believe that her name is Lucy Childs, and that she's insane. Louisa knows she's not, but how can she convince anyone, when every protest seemingly confirms their opinion? And how can she possibly escape - even with the help of a friendly nurse - before being in Wildthorn drives her mad for real? Review: If you're thinking, "Gee, this book sounds an awful lot like Fingersmith," you're not alone. And that similarity cuts both ways. It's a large part of why I picked it up: while I enjoyed Fingersmith well enough, I did find it a little slow moving in parts, and I was interested in something on a similar topic but faster-moving. And, to its credit, that it was; I read through Wildthorn in under three hours, most of which were in a single sitting.But in every other way, I thought Wildthorn suffers in comparison to Fingersmith. The words "pale imitation" kept coming to mind as I read, and every aspect of Wildthorn - the characters' motivations, the depictions of the horrors of life in a Victorian mental institution, the lesbian romance - just felt thinner, weaker, less complex, less believable. I spent most of the book hoping that Louisa actually was insane, figuring that there had to be something more to the plot than what was being presented. But as things went on, it became harder and harder to convince myself that there was an interesting twist like that waiting for me, and eventually I was forced to accept that the straightforward and rather obvious explanation for Louisa's situation was in fact the only one I was left with.The prose itself was fine, smooth and lively and easy to read, if not always convincingly historical-sounding. But I just wanted more - more depth of characterization, more complex motivations, more vivid descriptions, more historical detail, more compelling romance - than what this book had to offer. 3 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: There are plenty of people out there (including people whose opinions on books I trust) who enjoyed it a lot more than I did, so perhaps I'm just being cranky. If this appeals to you because you like Victorian YA lit, books about insane asylums, or teen lesbian romance, then it may be worth a try. However, if you like those things because you loved Fingersmith, then I think Wildthorn may not stack up quite as well as could be hoped.
MsMoonlight on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In a word: EngrossingI did not know anything about this story when I borrowed it from the library. I liked the cover and the story of young girl locked up in an asylum sounded intriguing to me. To review this book I am going to have to give away something- there is no other way for me to give my review. First I want to say, this was an EXCELLENT book and because I want to share how it touched me, I need to give something away that some might or might not already be known about the story. (I didn't know it)***If you haven't read the book, have no idea what it's about and don't want to know anything more, don't read my review. If you have no plans to read this, please read the review anyway...it might change your mind.Let me start by asking you a question. Have you ever really considered what it must have been like years ago when men dominated everything? When men decided a woman's fate? Decided how she would live her life, whom she would see, talk to... whom she would marry? A time when women had very little to no choices at all. That would all be hard enough for a heterosexual woman to endure...being given in marriage to man she didn't love or even like. Now imagine for a moment would sort of hell it would be like if you were a lesbian. No hope of ever truly being with someone you cared about and loved. Not only would men forbid it, but even other women and society at large would forbid it- in many places this still occurs. But to get back to the book review, I personally hadn't given it much thought. Not being a lesbian, I haven't ever thought about them in history. I've thought about women in general and their plight, but never specifically a lesbian woman in historical times... until I read this book.As I've already said, I had no idea what this book was about except for a young girl being institutionalized in an asylum for "mad people". As I read each chapter I asked myself more questions and began to put myself in the place of women throughout history whom have suffered injustices merely because they were women and dependent on men in their lives for their very lives. It made me angry.This book begins by flipping back and forth between what is currently happening to Louisa and her history leading up to being locked in an asylum. At first I was annoyed by this set up, but soon found it was the best way to tell the story.Louisa is not lady-like much to her mother's displeasure. Louisa prefers playing marbles to playing with dolls. As she gets older she still prefers the company of her doctor father discussing illnesses to visiting other ladies with her mother. Her brother Thomas is jealous of her because she's smart and the apple of their father's eye.Over and over again, Louisa seems to put off other girls and young ladies because Louisa isn't like them. She just can't seem to relate to them at all. She's not interested in boys or getting married. She doesn't care about proper manners or keeping her clothing neat and tidy. She has her heart on becoming a doctor like her father. She loves investigating things, experimenting and learning. She wants to help people, not invite them over for tea. This causes a rifted between her and her mother. These two women just don't understand each other and Louisa being young finds herself very frustrated by her place in life and societies expectations of her. She's very unhappy most of the time...her happiest times are with her father and studying.When her father dies rather suddenly, the family is torn apart. Her brother is away at school and her mother falls into a depression. Louisa is heartbroken she's lost her beloved father, the only one who understood her and supported her. At the same time Louisa is shocked to discover she's got a crush on a girl. She is appalled by the thought, but the feelings are real and won't go away. The object of her crush is soon to get married and if that isn't bad enough she's also related to the girl. Incest girl love- Louisa is stunned but can't deny
sensitivemuse on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I could not help but feel so angry for Louisa. She dealt with such a great injustice against her, I could hardly believe the outcome of the story. She¿s definitely a very strong character especially with the odds not in her favor. I liked how she¿s portrayed as not a typical Victorian English woman. She was more of a tomboy and wanted to follow in her father¿s footsteps. Unfortunately she just happened to be born in the wrong century. I liked how she didn¿t think she acted any different, and in fact thought the `girly¿ girls were just odd because they did not share the same interests as she did.Of all characters I loathed Tom. I really did. He was spiteful, horrible, cruel, and he deserved a whole lot of pain than he got. I¿d have to say he¿s one of the most hated characters I have ever encountered so far in a book. Phyllis was also another character I did not care for, and although her ending was a little more satisfying than Tom¿s, I thought she didn¿t really receive her proper come uppins. Overall, the plot was good and very well written. I thought the writing did a good job in capturing how it felt to be in an asylum during the Victorian Age. It¿s bleak, and depressing, and situations could potentially get worse should you become `uncooperative¿. It¿s an eye opener, and horrible to read because the reader is aware of Louisa¿s mental health, but also reading on how she got there in the first place is shocking and horrifying. As for the romance in this book, it may not be for everyone, I sort of figured who Louisa would be with and it¿s predictable. Some argue why is this even necessary. True, but also realize that without the love, Louisa might not have been strong enough to endure what she had to go through and it was what kept her going.This was an eye opening read, and although dark and bleak throughout most of the book, there is a good satisfying ending. It shows how they used to think back then, and what was the norm and what was not. It¿s hard to read without feeling some sort of anger but it¿s also a satisfying read because Louisa is one of the strongest characters I have ever read so far. To have gone through what she had, would have taken a lot of strength both mentally and physically.
NyxenNadine on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Wildthorn is a beautifully written novel that had me at the edge of my seat. When I first read it, I was a bit bored. But after a couple more pages I was hooked. I read this whole thing in a night. Staying up until midnight on a school night to finish the book was a very good decision. I don't regret doing it.Louisa Cosgrove life is turned upside down once she steps through Wildthorn. She then must find out why she was put in the aslyum and escape, before she does become crazy. I don't want to give anything away because it's not out in the US yet. Louisa finds love but from the most unlikely person. I was shocked when I found out about her lover but I also smiled because love is unexplainable with anyone. I don't want to give anything away since this book isn't out in the US but I definitely reccommend it. Jane Eagland is such an inspiration that she gets me thinking. She writes in a way that transfixes you and you can't seem to escape. I rate Wildthorn Five Stars.
callmecayce on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I found this book somewhat disappointing. I was hoping for more of a Sucker Punch vibe, but I should've known better. Mental institution stories have been worse, and they've been better. It wasn't bad, but I felt like there was something missing (even though I can't quite figure out what).
stephxsu on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Louisa Cosgrove, the independent daughter of a doctor, believes she is being sent to be a lady¿s companion. Instead, the carriage drops her off at Wildthorn Hall, where she is forced to take odd medicines, wear awkward clothes, and subjected to horrifying treatment. At Wildthorn, she is not Louisa Cosgrove, but Lucy Childs, and she has no idea why they call her that.For Wildthorn is a mental hospital, and Louisa is a patient, though she doesn¿t know how or why she is there. As she unravels clues from her past and navigates the psychological horrors of Wildthorn, Louisa fears she will forget who she is¿unless she is completely open with herself and actively goes after what she wants.Fans of Sarah Waters¿ Fingersmith will find something similar here in Jane Eagland¿s WILDTHORN. Shocking, subtle, and deliberately paced, it will suck in those with patience, who looking for something a bit different from the norm.It takes no small amount of skill to weave a world that naturally traps the protagonist in unbearable situations. Louisa¿s present-tense account of her time at Wildthorn is interspersed with flashbacks to her childhood, in which we get a clear picture of Louisa¿s mother and older brother as restraining her identity development. Yet at the same time, her mother and brother are only trying to protect her in the way that most young Victorian women were protected. Their utter belief in their society¿s system only more powerfully illuminates the horrifying situations thrust upon many young women.WILDTHORN moves slowly, as the first half of the book involves numerous flashbacks that set up the situation and characters. However, if you like Victorian literature, and have patience for quiet character-driven stories, then WILDTHORN just might reward you. From an unconventional romance to a shocking setting, this historical novel is full of suspense, horror, and female empowerment.
ijustgetbored on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In Wildthorn, Louisa Cosgrove desires to become a doctor herself, despite her mother and oppressive Victorian society in general's disapproval of the idea of a female physician. Her father supports her in this desire, providing a balance against her oppressive mother, while her brother remains ever on the sidelines, derailing Louisa at every possible opportunity, from earliest childhood on. Her aunt and cousin Grace, while never weighing in on the physician issue in the early parts of the novel, nonetheless are generally kind and supportive of Lousia.So, all continues apace until her father's abrupt death. Not long after that, Lousia finds herself shipping off to Wildthorn Hall, an insane asylum, and rechristened Lucy Childs. She doesn't know why she's there, or who sent her there. We see the worst atrocities of Victorian "medicine" being practiced here along with some simply horrid physicians who are nothing at all like Lousia's devoted father (who is, incidentally, the only positive physician role model we see in the entire book). The attendants come from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, many patients there are not, in fact, crazy, Lousia is stripped of her precious books as reading is deemed to be mentally deranging, and conditions are generally deplorable.Eagland paints a very vivid world; the madhouse descriptions are particularly well-done and haunting. These scenes are the ones that will really have you flipping pages, wanting to see what happens next. The asylum sections of the plot are, by far, the most compelling. A little slower going is the first part of the book, which is told in alternating past tense and present tense flashbacks of Lousia's youth and her arrival at Wildthorn Hall. This section is a bit hard to get into because the reader is constantly yanked from one world to the other with no transition, and the change in narrative tense is a bit disconcerting. There is a part later in the story when Lousia relates a story from her past to another character (I won't say any more because of spoilers) and does so all in the same narrative tense that dominates the rest of the book, and it reads much more seamlessly and naturally. If the first section could have been worked like this later tale, I believe Part One would have read a lot more smoothly.And I'm going to go ahead and write this, because I think it's obvious and not really a spoiler, but stop reading here if you truly want nothing given away. I had a slight issue with Lousia's lesbianism and her "always wanting to be a boy." For me, there was some undercurrent there of Lousia's being a lesbian being equated with her actually wanting to be a man. And in order for Lousia to be a feminist and want to become a doctor, did she have to be portrayed as a lesbian? I felt like there was some stereotyping going on on Eagland's part, that for Lousia not to want to conform in one aspect (not to want to be a wife and mother), she had to not conform in all aspects. I have no problem with Lousia's being a lesbian, and I liked the romantic element it added to the story (what a break from Team Edward versus Team Jacob), though there is some potential class conflict that remains unresolved at the end.The end gets all the loose ends tied up, perhaps too neatly; can such an unconventional character really be expected to have a tidy ending to her story? It's satisfying for the reader, sure; I was happy to see things work out. But is it realistic? Yes, I'm aware I'm reading fiction, but Eagland dug so deeply into the gritty realism of social stereotypes and the asylum narrative, it's a little disappointing to see her waver on the ending.Overall, though, the novel is satisfying to the reader. I liked Lousia, liked her narrative voice, and clung to her throughout her struggles. There was one other character in particular I found particularly compelling. The cast of the novel is fairly large, and I think Eagland handles it well for a f
acabrams on LibraryThing 8 months ago
WILDTHORN is an engaging YA historical novel that drew me in right from the beginning. Louisa Cosgrove believes she is going to be a paid companion and governess for a wealthy family when everything takes a wrong turn and she ends up in Wildthorn insane asylum. She is an unusual girl in that she wants to be a doctor more than anything and women doctors were rare during this Victorian time period. In the first part of the book, the author provides flashbacks into what happened in the months and days leading up to Louisa's admittance to Wildthorn. I really enjoyed the way these flashbacks were woven into the plot and helped give more insight into her life in the days before. The suspense of who put Louisa in the asylum and if she would get out was very intriguing and kept me reading through all of the twists and turns in the storyline. I found Louisa to be an interesting character and liked her development throughout the book. The only negative thing for me was that the romance and happy ending felt rushed and a little unrealistic for the time period. Other than that, the writing style flowed very well and the author did a very good job of portraying the troubles women faced during that era. Overall, this was a satisfying book and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction or young adult genres.Note: I received a digital galley of this book from netGalley for review.
BookSwarm on LibraryThing 8 months ago
REVIEW: Historical fiction isn't my current preferred genre (back in high school, I went through a long period where I read nothing but historical romances. Oh, and assigned readings, of course. But that was years ago.), but the premise of this story intrigued me. The main character, Louisa, has always dreamed of being a doctor like her father but, unfortunately for her, she lives in a time when women are expected to be nothing more than good hostesses and pretty decorations. Her continuing desire to learn, to better her mind and earn a degree are seen by her family and by others as signs of madness. So, they lock her in an insane asylum and forget about her.Thank God we don't live in those times anymore. I mean, it's one thing to watch a period movie and think how romantic and lovely it might be. The reality of the time was quite different: whalebone corsets, no real schooling for women, barbaric and deadly medical practices, and inhumane hospitals for those with (and without) mental illnesses. And this story addresses it all. Eagland tells the story in first person, through Louisa's eyes. Part of it is in present tense, when Louisa is in the asylum, trying to preserve her mind and escape the place. Part of it is told in flashbacks including how she became interested in medicine, her relationships with various family members, and the incidents leading up to a relative's decision to put Louisa away "for her own good". While I'm not a big fan of flashbacks (especially ones that carry on throughout the entire story), these are both purposeful and necessary to better understanding Louisa and the world she lives in.The portions when Louisa was in the asylum are well done and heart-wrenching at times, especially when she gets involved with another patient who claims to have lost her baby. The historically accurate details sprinkled throughout only add to the realistic feeling. All in all, Louisa and her struggles against the rules of her society make for an interesting story.Final grade for WILDTHORN by Jane Eagland: 85/B352 pagesYA Historical FictionHardcover out on September 6, 2010Online ARC, cover illustration and blurb provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
wsquared on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Jane Eagland weaves an engrossing tale about a teenaged girl who finds herself locked up in Wildthorn, a mental institution in Victorian England. Neither the protagonist, Louisa Cosgrove, nor the reader know why she was sent there, until clues are revealed in flashbacks interspersed with the narrative. Louisa must figure out the truth behind her situation, amidst the lies and abuse from the institution's staff, aided by the kindness of Eliza, one of the assistant caregivers. Throughout the story, a lot is revealed about women in medicine, the wretched reality of patient care, and social customs of the time, which could provide good discussion points. While the plot gets wrapped up a little too nicely at the end, it's still a captivating story that will especially appeal to historical fiction fans.
dukesangel002 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
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. Not only is she locked up, but she is mistreated. I felt for her from the very beginning. She was such an easy character to relate too, since I too have an obvious love of reading :)I've heard other bloggers say that the romance was a surprise, but I went into this one knowing that there is a LGBT theme. The romance is so sweet though, and completely believable. I absolutely loved it. I realized who the love interest was going to be early on in the story, and it was a great match up in my opinion!Overall this was a touching story about how life really was back then, and the sad things that some women had to endure. I really enjoyed this one and recommend it to all of you YA fans!
highvoltagegrrl on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This young adult, historical fiction novel was a nice change of pace. We follow Louisa from her daily life and unusual desire to become a doctor (during this time period, women working as doctors was a very new idea). She is smart and not at all a silly, frivolous girl as many teenagers are written as. Then something goes horribly wrong and we are moved along with Louisa into an asylum and following her day to day activities there. As the book unfolds, there is a mystery to solve¿how did such a smart girl wind up in a place like this?The story switches back and forth between flashbacks of the events preceding her arrival at Wildthorn and the agony she faces day to day with the horrible treatment she undergoes there. A wonderful character, Eliza, is introduced at Wildthorn and it is through Eliza that we still see the good in the world, someone willing to help and believe and right the wrongs of the world. The last 1/3 of the book moves along so quickly, the action peaking and pulling me along to the end, that I sat and read that all the way through. A truly charming novel with characters that are very real to life.
ericajsc on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I was drawn to this book because I was intrigued by the idea of mistaken identity and the time period in which it is set. The story starts well in the sense that, like Louisa, the reader is completely unsure why she¿s being locked away and told that she¿s someone she isn¿t. As the story unfolds ¿ through her time at Wildthorn and through her memories of growing up with her family ¿ there are hints about how she could have ended up at Wildthorn, but I think it actually did a good job of not revealing everything too early that I was just waiting for Louisa to figure it out.I found Louisa to be a well-drawn character. Her relationship with her father was the most influential aspect of her childhood, and it is easy to see the progression of her desire to become a doctor based on her time with her dad. The fact that she is so determined to do this, even in the face of society¿s doubt, speaks volumes about her courage to face adversity. It takes strength of character to strive for something when everyone around you, save one, is telling you it is wrong.There is a certain aspect of the book that made me a little uncomfortable, and that¿s the idea of marrying your cousin. Now, I realize that this was a common practice in history and is, in fact, still done in many parts of the world, but it¿s still weird to read about. This idea runs throughout the book, but when Louisa¿s brother suggests to her that she try to get her cousin to marry her, it¿s just ¿ no. I don¿t have a problem with seeing someone falling in love with someone, but not a first cousin.* So, yeah, while I don¿t want to give too much of the story away, I will say that this is not so much a part of the story that it ruined the book for me. But it did make me shake my head in several points thinking, ¿Why?¿Finally, I will say that there is a relationship that develops that might be problematic for some readers. While I didn¿t take issue with it, there is a part of the epilogue that I thought felt a little forced. Where that relationship goes is not the problem, but the scene is so ¿BAM! There it is!¿ that it felt out of place and unnecessarily overt. I like subtlety I guess, so maybe it¿s more of a preference thing, but it felt a little much.Although this book went in a different direction than I was expecting from the summary, it was an interesting read that had me wanting to find out how Louisa ended up in Wildthorn and if/how she would break free.
SimplyGrace on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I was totally shocked by the events that unfolded in this book, but in a good way. This story was not at all what I thought it was going to be. From the moment I began, I become totally engrossed in this horrific tale of false imprisenment, oppression and possible insanity. Louisa, was different than all the other girl she knew, but in their own home, her father allowed it. She wanted to learn and go to school, not have tea parties and socialize. When her father passed away, her world as she knew it, was turned upside down. Confused and grieving, she was talked into leaving her home, but it became the worst decision she could have possibly made.She ends up in a place called Wildthorn, and the people there call her by the name Lucy Childs. That is not her name...or is it? She begins to frantically try and unravel this mystery, of how she came here, and who is Lucy Childs?I love strong female characters, and Lousia is no exception. She has strong beliefs and emotions, and is not afraid to speak her mind. Which was completely unheard of in the day and time that she lived. I really liked this story, and at times I felt like I was imprisioned right along with her. The writing was very moving, and I felt her pain. I felt her frustrations of captivity, confusion and unhappiness. The only thing about this book was the fact that the story was told with alternating chapters of flashbacks, but that is totally a PERSONAL preference. It definitely, did not in any way take away from the beauty of the story.Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The story was emotional and captivating. I also enjoyed the love story that develops towards the end. I give it 3 STARS.
MyBookAffair on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I really did like this book. Louisa is a strong protagonist and she knows what she wants in life. The only problem, women aren't allowed many freedoms during this time. While Louisa thinks she is headed off to a friendly home to befriend a young lady she is really headed to an asylum where the head doctor is more worried about lining his pockets than caring for his patients. All along I thought I knew for sure what was going on in this book and then wham! I found out I had been wrong all along. I really like it when I'm wrong about where a book is going. This story was strong, had good characters, caught and held my attention, and had an original(to me anyway) plot. Word of warning, this book does have some romance between two young women. Not detailed but it is there. While this did not bother me at all I thought I might mention it for the younger audience and/or parents.
jdquinlan on LibraryThing 8 months ago
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 love . . . My Review:The story begins with Louisa on her way to take up residence as a companion to a friend of the family, but when her carriage stops she's actually at a hospital for the insane where she is forcibly committed. The narrative jumps back and forth in time between Louisa's committment and episodes of her prior life that may or may not have led to her being in the situation she's in. I think it starts out a little choppy with the switching back and forth, but eventually it finds a rythm and the story becomes very suspenseful as Louisa tries to find out who was responsible for having her committed and why as the conditions in the asylum take a toll on her mental and physical health. However, all of that suspense amounted to what turned out to be a big letdown for me. I thought the "big reveal" was really no big deal and I thought the answers to the big questions were awfully flimsy and I was pretty frustrated that I'd invested the time in this book for such an unimaginative and uninspiring ending.This book has nice period detail and provides a good glimpse into the various conditions of a nineteenth century insane asylum and the treatment of women in general, but I think this book suffered in its attempt to depict: 1. the struggle women faced in the field of medicine, 2. the deplorable conditions in asylums, and 3. Louisa's "unconventional romance" all at the same time, and I felt like this book couldn't decide what type of book it wanted to be. Ultimately, this was not the book for me.
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Louisa Cosgrove is in for a surprise when she finds herself at the doors of Wildthorn Hall (an institution for the mentally ill) instead of at the home of the Woodvilles, who are friends of the family. Not only is she at a loss as to why she is there but she is also told that due to her madness she does not even know her true name. For she is not Louisa Cosgrove but a Lucy Childs. No matter how hard she tries to convince them that they are mistaken and have the wrong person, the more convinced they become that she has lost her senses.Through flashbacks we get a look at Louisa's life. She is a strong, stubborn and independent young woman who will not conform to what is expected of a young lady of her station. Instead she wants to follow in her father's footsteps even though being a female doctor is not proper. The mystery as to why she ends up in the asylum is slowly unraveled throughout the story. We get intimate details of her life growing up, her family, and her trials and tribulations. When you aren't reading about her past, you are in her present and that is locked up within Wildthorn's walls. Imagine being locked up in a Victorian era mental asylum - can only be described as horrendous and/or atrocious.I truly liked the suspense - at first you don't even know whether she is Louisa or Lucy. Although she seems to be perfectly sane from her thoughts, you can't help but wonder. The poor circumstances in which she finds herself in (which I'm sure were very true for many women in that time) were bleak and at more than one point I find myself frustrated and at the brink of tears over how exasperating it all was. To not be able to defend or explain yourself for the sheer fact that they thought you were even crazier than anticipated and placed under even more strict and dire straits... it gave me the chills. I found the descriptions we get of the asylum to be very credible - although I'm sure they were far worse in real life.Call me wishy-washy, but my favorite part was the love story. It was unexpected and quite lovely. I do want to forewarn, there is a romance between two young women. It was not detailed nor disturbing in any way, but I did want to mention it since it is a YA book. In fact, her homosexuality is so vaguely described, that it might even be overlooked by younger readers.I really enjoyed reading Wildthorn. I liked learning more about the time frame and it gave a credible (and sad) look into what some young women had to go through back then. Overall, I was very happy with it, it kept me at the edge of my seat with its twists and turns and dark subject. My only complaint would be that the ending felt a bit rushed, but definitely not something that should deter you from reading it. A solid 4 stars.This book was provided for review by Netgalley.
jasmyn9 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Louisa Cosgrove is in trouble. On the way to stay with some friends of her older brothers, she finds the carriage stopped in front of an asylum instead. An asylum for mentally ill women, and they seem to think she's someone names Lucy Childs. Try as she might to convince them of their mistake, they just assume her "confusion" is all part of her mental condition.Louisa was an oddity for her time. She wanted to be a doctor like her father in an era where females even being nurses was still frowned upon. As she tries to unravel the threads of her past and figure out how she ended up in the asylum, Wildthorn, we get to see the difficulties and joys of her life as she grew up. We also get a very intimate look into what asylum life was like - and it wasn't very pretty.Louisa finds unexpected friends, and surprising enemies as she goes. I was very surprised when the betrayer of her trust is finally revealed and is forced to come to terms with what happened to Louisa.While the story was interesting and moved along fairly well, there were times I had a little trouble believing in some of the characters, at times they seemed very static.3.5/5
theepicrat on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Wildthorn threw me off-guard - I'm not sure what I had been expecting, but it was along the lines of something magical as the shiny, metallic pink cover suggested (at least in my mind). Even though there was no magic to be had, I still found myself quite entranced with Louisa's predicament of what has to be a horrible case of mistaken identity.The first half of the book alternates between Louisa's past and present - and the flashbacks serve as a way to get to know Louisa better as a precocious young woman who would rather play doctor with her dolls and learn how to prove if arsenic had been used to color stockings green. While the many memories confirm that Louisa is Louisa and not deranged in that regards, I was left to wonder how Louisa ended up at the asylum. Surely it is a mistake, but was it somehow connected with the strange lady companion who had been hired to bring her to a well-to-do London family - or did the betrayal run deeper along the lines of family?With great ease, Jane Eagland tackles the delicate issue of sexuality and gender inequality as well as the terrifying conditions of asylums back in the Victorian Age. I found Wildthorn absolutely riveting! It was such a stark difference from other books that I have read. I mean, how often do asylums get the spotlight in a book? Also, Wildthorn makes me appreciate how much more balanced society is, gender-wise, and the opportunities now available for women.Beautifully written, Wildthorn paints a drastic picture of what could happen to a forward-thinking Victorian girl who attempts to break free from the tightening corset of society.
TechWorm on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Jane Eagland¿s Wildthorn focuses on seventeen year old Louisa Cosgrove. Louisa is an independent female thinker who dreams of becoming a doctor, something unheard of in the current society. Through what Louisa sees as a misunderstanding, she is sent the insane asylum Wildthorn and lead to believe that she is really a girl named Lucy Childs and that she is mad. Confused and alone, Louisa struggles to sort through the events leading up to her admittance while also trying to discover who betrayed her and how she can escape. I was immediately turned off by the first person perspective in the novel. It is not something that I am used to and I tend to avoid it at all costs. Most novels that I have read that are written in first person tend to feel amateurish in writing in my opinion. I was surprised however that this did not strike me as one of those novels. The first person style was actually very insightful and appropriate because it really helped develop Louisa¿s emotional state of mind and convey it in a way that makes it easier for the reader to understand. Louisa really grew as a character and although some of her earlier naivety when she first arrived at the asylum was rather annoying (seeing as how she is supposed to be an intelligent young woman), I actually liked her scheming and plotting. The `whodunnit¿ plot was interesting enough and there is the question of `is she really crazy?¿ constantly looming. I felt that there were certain similarities to the movie/novel Shutter Island incorporated as well as the movie Changeling. Louisa¿s sanity is always in question and the sheer fact of proving her sanity makes her look even more insane. I found the flashback scenes far more interesting than Louisa¿s present circumstances simply due to the fact that throughout the beginning part of the novel I found Louisa to be extremely annoying. The only part of the novel that I truly did not like I can not say without a spoiler alert. I do feel like I have to write it here however because I feel that if I had known about this part in the novel I probably would not have read it. There is a lesbian relationship in the novel. I personally do not have a problem with this in real life but I was a little uncomfortable reading it as the relationship continued to progress. I feel like the last few pages in the epilogue were a bit unnecessary in terms of detailing the relationship and I would rather not have read about it. I feel like readers should be at least hinted that this was included before they start reading the book so that they could have a choice to not read it. In the authors justification however, the idea of Louisa being a lesbian does fit rather seamlessly in to the novel and it is just another way that she challenges the rules of society. Overall Wildthorn was an interesting read and I am glad that I chose to request it. The events that occurred to Louisa in the mental asylum were heart wrenching and I could not even imagine the frustration and pain that she went through. It was a great read if you want to look at women¿s role in nineteenth century England. Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley for allowing me the opportunity of reading this novel.
Soniamarie on LibraryThing 8 months ago
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 stay home and raise children. As if all this isn't bad enough, Louisa one day finds herself delivered to the gate of Wildthorn Hall, a mental asylum. What follows is intrigue and suspense as Lousia meets a young girl with a tragic past, gets trapped in bathtubs, has a tiff with a "warden", and finds herself incarcerated on ward five, the worst place to be. Meanwhile, everyone insists she is Lucy Childs and she is most unsuccessful in her attempts to convince the hospital otherwise and get to the bottom of her incarceration. Who put her there and why? The answers may hurt more than the ignorance.Can she escape Wildthorn, become a doctor, and find true love with another woman? I liked how this novel brought up lesbian love. I was surprised to find it in a young adult novel, but I did like the twist. Something different and a subject not often touched upon. Five stars.
krau0098 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I got a digital galley of this novel from netgalley.com. I am glad I did it was a very interesting read and I enjoyed it a lot.Louisa Cosgrove is sent away from her family to serve as a Governess, but she doesn't arrive at their house. Instead she finds herself arriving at Wildthorn an asylum for the mentally handicapped. She is told her name is Lucy Childs and that she is mentally sick. Louisa protests but the more she denies, the more the caretaker insists that her denial is proof of her illness. Things start out okay in the First Galley of the house and Louisa tries her best to figure out why she was deposited in Wildthorn. As she comes to realize there must be a plot against her she plans escape. But can Louisa remember who she is and survive the treatments long enough to follow through on her escape?This was a very engaging novel and very hard to put down. You are constantly wondering at the mystery of how Louisa ended up at Wildthorn and whether or not she will escape. The beginning of the book alternates between stories from her past and scenes about what is currently happening to her. From her past you learn that Louisa is a very intelligent girl that wants to follow in the footsteps of her doctor father. Louisa is also very obstinate about following the traditional roles set forth by society. As time goes on we find she has an extremely intense liking of her cousin Grace.This novel was very well done. It does an excellent job of showing the powerless position of women in the represented era. The injustices that happen to the women at the asylum are horrible and disturbing (but appropriate for young adult readers). The fact that Louisa's assertiveness and intelligence are withering away in this mental asylum is maddening at times. Eagland does an excellent job of portraying the panic that Louisa feels upon being trapped in this horrible place.Eagland doesn't stop at tackling the issue of women's rights but also tackles some politics around same sex relationships. Most of the moral issues discussed deal with the powerlessness of women, but there is some about the scandalous nature of same sex relationships at the time.Eagland's writing was very readable, at times I wished she would give a little bit more in depth description. I also thought that her description of mental asylums was perhaps a bit too nice, but I don't know that for sure. The book ends on a positive note and in a way that is really too good to be true. Although a bit unrealistic, I did enjoy the happy ending.Overall this was an enjoyable book that was easy to read. It was interesting to read a historical fiction novel that tackled a different subject matter. I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, mysteries, or just about any young adult. It is very interesting and does a good job of portraying the troubles that faced women in that era.