Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review: Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

From the Back Cover:Wildthorn

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 . . .

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.

Rating:  2 Stars out of 5

*Please note: This review references an advance digital copy received from the publisher, and therefore the final published copy may differ. Though I received this book from the publisher, these are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. The quote sounded so good. I had high hopes. Sorry it was disappointing.
    Thanks for your opinion.

  2. The beginning was so promising. I too was disappointed.


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