Read wildthorn by Jane Eagland Online


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 courThey 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 . . .Originally published in the UK, this well-paced, provocative romance pushes on boundaries—both literal and figurative—and, do beware: it will bind you, too....

Title : wildthorn
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 16138513
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 357 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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wildthorn Reviews

  • Donna
    2019-03-22 22:19

    "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? Gone. The ability to read freely? Gone. College? Gone. You, as a woman (sorry guys), are expected to do womanly things only and that certainly doesn't include a scientific education. You want to be a doctor? Haha! Silly girl. Doctors are for dicks.I wanted to read this book so horribly badly the second I found out about it simply because it's horrifying what happened to women during the Victorian era. It was legal for people to stick chicks in nut houses because they were a burden, they weren't acting properly, they were moody. Just think about that. Your husband thinks you're being a little too irrational and it might affect his standing with his peers. Well, he's just going to send you to a place like Wildthorn to help you out a little. Too bad their version of "helping out" was drugging you, treating you like shit, electrifying you, binding you up and leaving you in a tub for hours. You know, cathartic things.And don't think for a second that we wouldn't all meet each other in a place like that if the times were different. All this reading? Cause for insanity.So going into the book my inner feminist was ramped up. I've read about asylums from back then and I knew how horrible they were but you don't often hear stories from the patient's perspective. The story starts and you don't know if Louisa really is sick or not. The way she talks, acts, she seems perfectly fine. True, the insane don't really know they're insane but you're in her head and it doesn't seem so crazy in there. The only thing that kept me legitimately questioning her sanity was the name issue. She was admitted as Lucy Childs but she kept insisting her name was Louisa Cosgrove. That kept me questioning for a long time.I also had to keep guessing at the incident that Louisa/Lucy felt got her locked up. The closer the story got to the reveal, the more obvious it got and honestly, I like the twist the story took at that point. Without giving too much away, it highlights an issue that I'm sure was thoroughly ignored during that time despite it actually being in existence. And the relationship that was formed because of it was so endearing and loving it was hard not to get a little misty about it.I was turning from one page to the next without wanting to stop. What happened to Louisa/Lucy while locked away at Wildthorn was horrendous. And to think that actually happened to many women is even more horrifying. You tried to defend yourself and you were considered even crazier and sent to an even crazier ward of the hospital where you were left to start questioning your own insanity and your own reason. So many women went into places like that totally sane and lost their minds to those institutions. It's so sad.The plot itself is very stagnant. If you're not at Louisa/Lucy's aunt's house or her own home, you're at the asylum. There's not too much action in terms of action/adventure but the trials that Louisa/Lucy went through were more than enough for me. Fighting for the very status of your own brain is a mighty feat and she never gave up, even when her situation looked end-of-times bleak. She's such a strong character and I think if only more women were really as strong as she was, they might have fared a little better. Or maybe worse, as it were, unfortunately.When the following things could have gotten a woman locked in a terrifying insane asylum without any recourse whatsoever - facts indicating insanity observed by myself - An interest in medical matters inappropriate for one of her age and sex; A neglect of appearance and personal toilet, and wearing unsuitable clothing for a young lady of her status other factors indicating insanity communicated to me by others - Excessive book-reading and study leading to a weakening of the mind; Desiring to ape men by nursing an ambition to be a doctor; Self-assertiveness in the face of male authority; Obstinacy and displays of temper; Going about unchaperoned to London alone in a third class railway compartment- it's hard not to immediately sympathize with the main character when you yourself exhibit all of those characteristics. It's hard not to sit there and have your heart break when you read what happened to this girl because she read a little too much; because she wanted to be a doctor. I just connected with this book on such a personal level that I want to read it over and over and over again.Hopefully we've learned from history and these kinds of atrocities will never repeat themselves. Let's hope it's forever relegated to compelling stories and no one will ever be able to describe what it was really like in one of those places. Reading Wildthorn I could actually feel what it was like. I had dreams about it. It made me thank the gods I live in the time that I do.Read this if you want an excellent historical fiction. Read it if you want a compelling story about a girl having to deal with a situation far beyond her control. Read it if you can even for a second imagine what it would be like to have all of your rights ripped away because someone couldn't be bothered with you. Read it if you want an amazing story.

  • Lina
    2019-03-31 23:21

    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 inspired by true stories of women who were incarcerated in asylums in the nineteenth century.Historical teen fiction often paints a glamorized view of "old-fashioned" life. It's all balls, corsets and gentlemen who come to court you. Wildthorn spits in the face of those cliché's and gives a glimpse of what it would be like if a woman from our time was sent back.Louisa Cosgrove has no desire to be married or to bare children. She wants to be a doctor. Such an aspiration now would be admired, but in Louisa's time it leads her to be labeled as mad. Her constant studying and disregard of gender norms has led to her being locked away in Wildthorn Hall, an asylum. The head of the asylum tells her that she is Lucy Childs not Louisa Cosgrove.Drugged, confused and completely alone all Louisa is left with is her knowledge, inner strength and memories.The book goes back and forth through time and we are able to see Louisa develop into the woman she is today. Her father, a doctor, encouraged her studies while her mother, hoped that she would grow into a conventional girl. The relationship with her family is really a complex ride and each time you think it gets clearer, something new develops. Reading about life in the asylum is painful, especially when keeping in mind that it is inspired on true events. Knowing that these women were starved, psychologically tortured and given awful treatment will infuriate you. The character of Beatrice truly broke my heart and I wanted to kick Weeks down a flight of stairs. Louisa's character was interesting and reading about her life made me feel grateful for the relationship I have with my family. I couldn't book this book down and as I was reading, I felt so many emotions, because it connected with me in a way I'm not used to.This book comes very, very highly recommended. Final Grade: A+Really, this book was fascinating to me, especially as a history junkie. I love it when writers expose the good as well as the bad about historical eras. For me, this book is terrifying because the events in this book could have happened to us if we were born then. Also, it's just crazy to imagine that once person, who doesn't really care that much about you, could have control over your future, your life and even your health.

  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
    2019-03-23 17:27


  • Richard Rider
    2019-03-20 19:46

    I meant to give this a four but I'm bumping it up to five. I'm always curious about the reasons why people give one-star ratings to books I enjoy, but so many of these are because "eww lesbians!" it makes me want to fucking spit. What century are we in?! I don't give a damn what genitals are in a love story as long as I believe the characters' feelings, and the girls in this were just beautiful together. So, five to slightly make up for the idiots.Four originally just because it made me so uncomfortable, but then again it's supposed to. It's not a pleasant read most of the time, it's bleak as hell. The whole section set in the asylum is claustrophobic and horrible - being set up by your scheming money/society-obsessed family and sent to an insane asylum when you're not ill, but the more you try to convince the doctors you're sane the more convinced they are that you're delusional. That makes me feel ill, just the idea of being wrongly incarcerated by people who WON'T LISTEN. I feel sort of ~weird~ for being so into it as a story setting (*cough* let me just recommend When the Music Stops by John T. Fuller), but I suppose I just like the fix-it element of fiction being able to do what actual history often didn't and give at least some of these women their freedom back after they were locked up and drugged and abused for such shocking crimes as "wearing unsuitable clothing for a young lady of her status" (NO!!) or "Excessive book-reading and study leading to a weakening of the mind" (SCANDALOUS!!!) or "Desiring to ape men by nursing an ambition to be a doctor. Self-assertiveness in the face of male authority. Obstinacy and displays of temper. Going about unchaperoned, for example, travelling to London alone in a third-class railway compartment..." (PASS THE SMELLING SALTS, OH MY GOODNESS!!!!)The love story is such a contrast, it's so tender and almost innocent. It seems even more lovely in contrast with the asylum bit, and that seems worse in contrast with Louisa and Eliza. It's a total emotional see-saw going from one to the other, and there are parts I still feel a bit up in the air about (Aunt Phyllis should have had a kick in the teeth, come on!), and I sort of wish it had been intended for adults rather than YA because I think there's a bigger/deeper story that could have been told, but on the whole it was really well done, these captivating characters in a real gutpunch of a situation and one of the sweetest love stories I've read in ages. I'm glad I gave it a chance.

  • Tara Chevrestt
    2019-03-24 16:20

    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. I'd like to see a sequel.

  • Oz
    2019-03-20 17:24

    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 pretty book covers, that’s my kick. It may not be a good to ‘judge a book by it’s cover’ but it works for me. I have found some pretty good books (and dull ones this way).I started reading it and I have to say I enjoyed it. Louisa Cosgroves is our 19th Century heroine. She is determined and fierce to get her own way. Which is what I like. It helps to get the story moving when the character has something to fight for. She wants to be a doctor like her father. This is a time when it was virtually impossible for women to be anything other than a wife and a mother, maybe a maid or a nurse. It was awesome to read Louisa’s early years. They really made me understand her better.She is then sent to Wildthorn Hall, an asylum. She is betrayed by people she loved and thought she could trust. She meets people she grows as a character. Some characters came across as flat and as though their words were from Louisa’s mouth such as Tom, Aunt Phyllis, Grace.That is until we get to the end which I thought was a big let down. For me, it was resolved far too quickly, it felt like all this growing as a character was all for nothing. She reverted to her old ways of thinking. A bit too happy too. It felt like I was reading Sophie Kinsella after a while.The subject of her sexual identity wasn’t thought about once, maybe briefly but it was just a passing thought. Which really needed to be addressed I thought. It was a pivotal role in this character’s development. This was a time when it was forbidden. People were sent to mental institutions for this kind of thing as it was considered a mental illness.I know it is common practice these days, for people to put prepositions at the beginning of sentences, even in books. I myself do it but I do find it highly irritating, I try to avoid it. When reading a book it tends to stop me in my tracks. I also get irate when I read a book, it uses prepositions correctly (as a linking word) but then it uses a comma by a preposition. It is really unnecessary, a preposition is there for the reader to give them a breather anyway.Overall I was quite happy with this book and I give it four out of five stars. Due to a few flat characters and a rushed ending which could’ve lasted another fifty pages. I would like to recommend it for anyone who loves things that don’t adhere to social normalities.

  • Rachel
    2019-03-21 00:33

    **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 ignoring that fact, I read this book very quickly, trying to figure out who had put Louisa in Wildthorn. The obvious answer was Tom, and although by the end Louisa finds out the treachery goes much deeper than that, it was still right. Basically she ends up hating everybody for what happened, except her parents and her unfortunate cousin Grace.The reason Louisa was put into the asylum is also not clear from the beginning, but through flashbacks we find that she's a forward-thinking girl who likes doing 'boy' things like doing experiments, and she wants to be a doctor like her father. While Papa is supportive, no one else is. When he dies, her dream is basically crushed, but she's still very defensive about it.As if this weren't enough, Louisa is also a lesbian. She had some crush on Grace before being put in Wildthorn asylum, but obviously couldn't say anything about it. And Grace got married to a guy named Charles.What bothers me about this is... it seemed like the book was saying, "Because she's an independent girl, she also must be attracted to other girls." And it really has nothing to do with her being put in the asylum, because no one but her knew about it. Also, as a warning to anyone who wants to read it, there is a short, nondescript sex scene between Louisa and another female character at the end.

  • katie
    2019-04-19 23:48

    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, ever. I find her utterly uninteresting because I don't at all believe in her -- she's so rarely written well. And Wildthorn suffers for following the standard path with Louisa, although I liked that her drive was to study and become a doctor, rather than to rebel because, omg, she has to wear a corset, etc. (Although there was an omg, she has to wear a corset part. :| )I liked Eliza, the asylum attendant, much better. She felt so wonderfully real by the end! True and good and kind. And her own rebellion worked perfectly. I suppose it's like the Robin Hood stories, where he's fighting against corruption in the system, rather than fighting to change the system, if that makes sense -- I much prefer the former. My favourite part was the love story. I've read in other reviews complaints about it seeming abrupt and coming out of nowhere, but... nope. I thought it was lovely, and more believable than any of the asylum business, to be honest.

  • Angela
    2019-03-23 20:45

    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 quite awhile I was wondering if something terrible had happened that caused Lucy to create another personality.Ill or not, not being believed or taken at my word is one of my worst fears (outside of stuff that can actually kill me. Like bees). No one believes anything Louisa says - and in the 19th century, before people were always carrying ID like driver's licenses around, it's pretty much impossible for her to prove anything. Poor girl. If she wasn't crazy before being put in Wildthorn, it's easy to see how she would be in short order!Eagland paints an absolutely horrific vision of a 19th century asylum. Abusive and untrained staff severely hinder the healing process for the patients thought curable. Worse staff and egregious conditions condemn those thought to be incurable (or just too difficult for other people to work with). I have to say this might have one of the cheesiest cover taglines ever - "Treachery locks her away. Love is the key." Not only is it cheesy, but it's rather misleading. The cover would lead you to believe this is a love story, but the romance doesn't start to appear until rather late in the novel - and I almost wish it had never shown up at all. Not that I'm ever going to say no to more lesbian characters in YA lit, but this one never quite range true. While Louisa and her love are excellent characters, Louisa's sexuality treaded dangerously close to stereotype territory - she's an educated, "uppity" young women in the 19th century, of course she's gay. As I'm a fan of stories that eschew the "rule" that all books need a romance, I much would have preferred Louisa to be a solitary character who simply formed strong friendships (and if readers wanted to read some subtext into those relationships, I would totally encourage them!).

  • Educating Drew
    2019-04-06 19:46

    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.Louisa Cosgrove is seventeen and not like most girls. Which means she's not interested in dressing accordingly, or socializing, or making visits with boring old ladies who have nothing worthwhile to talk about. Nope, she'd much rather be reading and learning and following in her father's doctor-footsteps. This of course causes for a rift between Lousia and her brother, Tom, who IS going to school for medicine because it is quite obvious that Father has a connection with Lousia and not so much with Tom. And really, why should he. Tom is QUITE the ass. Like you wanna punch him, kind of ass.[Can I tell you that I adore Louisa? Like I want to chat with her about lots of smart things.]When we meet Louisa she has been imprisoned in an asylum under a false name and the more she challenges that identity, the more they believe that she IS crazy.We find out how Louisa ended up in the asylum through flashback memories. The author does an amazing job using this technique in alternating chapters.Louisa also has a MAJOR secret, one that is even more forbidden than her want to become a doctor. She believes that this secret is what put her in the asylum.Wildthorn (title of book AND name of asylum) is a creepy place to end up. And being stuck under a false identity? Yikes. (I had flashbacks of Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. We have fears about stolen identity because of the internet, but consider how easy it could have been in the 19th century. Dude, don't piss anyone off, right?) So, in Wildthorn, like how I imagine all creepy institutions to be, there's a public area where people tour and see how kind the "insane" are treated and then there are the other floors where people are held and treated not so kindly. Guess where Louisa ends up?Freakin' amazing guys. I don't have much to base historical YA fic on, but I raced through this book.

  • Aude aux livres
    2019-03-27 19:20

    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 très agréable, les chapitres alternant les souvenirs de son enfance et son arrivée à l'asile. On passe par plein de sentiments en lisant ce livre, on a de la peine pour elle, parce qu'évidemment personne n'aimerait se retrouver à sa place, à subir de tels traitements, à regarder de tels choses arriver sans pouvoir dire quoi que ce soit, surtout quand on a pour ambition de devenir médecin. Puis on doute, on se demande si Louisa est vraiment folle, est-ce que tous ses souvenirs ne sont en fait que le fruit de son imagination ? Après tout, un tel coup aurait été possible pas l'auteur, un vrai rebondissement dans le scénario. J'avoue avoir versé quelques larmes de compassion à certains passages, qui sont vraiment horribles. Les asiles à l'époque (et j'espère qu'ils n'étaient pas tous comme celui décrit ici !), ça devait vraiment être horrible. De quoi vous faire devenir fou si vous ne l'étiez pas déjà... Sans oublier la petite histoire d'amour, pas conventionnelle pour un sou pour l'époque.Louisa est un personnage que j'ai adoré, elle se bat pour ses convictions et est prête à tout pour devenir médecin, la relation avec son frère était aussi très intéressante, cette jalousie à cause de la relation qu'elle entretenait avec leur père, après tout c'était compréhensible même si tout n'est pas pardonnable. Au final un excellent roman que je conseille, malheureusement pas de VF à ce jour !

  • Julia Bishop
    2019-04-04 19:41

    This book started out really good, but then it took a turn for the worse. The main heroine, is one that is put into an insane asylum under a false name and no one will tell her what is going on. I admired her with her courage to want to be a doctor in England in the late 1800's when women weren't allowed to even think about that type of thing. Then after a series of events you find out that not only does she want to be a doctor but she is a lesbian. Yes, I did not finish reading it. Though it would have been a great book had you not learned about her sexual orientation. Disappointment....

  • Shannon (Giraffe Days)
    2019-04-05 16:25

    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 occupation for a woman - not to mention the "fact" that they simply don't have the brain power for it.In temporary defeat, Louisa agrees to take a position as companion to the sister of a friend of Tom's, Mr Woodville, but the carriage instead takes her to a large and gloomy place behind high walls called Wildthorn Hall. There, she learns that someone has betrayed her, and that there was no position with Miss Woodville. She has in fact been committed under the name of Lucy Childs - and denying this identity only confirms her insanity in the minds of the asylum director and attendants.At first she is in the relatively safe and clean Second Gallery with the more harmless women, but Louisa is determined to free herself. Sure that her unrequited love for her cousin Grace is the reason why she's here, Louisa slowly pieces together the truth - and realises who her real friends are.While this Young Adult novel doesn't have the depth and layers of detail of adult novels about this fascinating, tragic and scary theme of perfectly sane women being locked up by their families - novels like Sarah Waters' Fingersmith and Maggie O'Farrell'sThe Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, both of which I highly recommend - it is still a gripping and well written story that pays homage to the women who forged the way for us today, despite heavy odds and prevailing opinion.The Victorian period setting was deftly established and clearly realised, as is Louisa's upper-middle-class family. Her past, especially events leading up to Louisa's incarceration, is told in a series of flashbacks; throughout, Louisa's passion for such an unladylike career as medicine and the problems it causes with her mother and brother are clear; to a lesser degree, her homosexuality is an undeniable part of her but it's not treated as a problem (aside from Louisa's fears of discovery), and it was great to have a strong heroine who didn't shy away from her sexual orientation and didn't over-think it, but simply accepted herself for who she is. I really appreciated that; it was handled really well.The sad truth is that, for a long time, women - and girls - could be locked up and ignored for all sorts of reasons, like wanting to take long walks in the countryside, or for enjoying sex, whatever the family decided was wrong and an illness. And, of course, once you're inside an institution, no one believes anything you say. You're mad simply by being there, like it's something that rubs off the walls and onto your skin. Louisa's tenuous friendship with a young girl whose stepfather had molested her is heart-wrenching and tragic but also fairly typical of the kind of cases that would be there. Women are blamed, seen as ill and even dangerous.Wildthorn Hall was suitably grotty and scary, and Louisa's predicament was filled with tension. I loved how it was resolved, and found myself wishing for more. With its great sense of time and place, worthy themes and strong female characters, Wildthorn is well worth reading.

  • Jenny Q
    2019-04-17 22:33

    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.

  • rachel
    2019-03-23 00:21

    Das Cover hat mich sofort angesprochen, es war auch der Hauptgrund warum ich das Buch gekauft habe. Die Autorin ist noch recht unbekannt und leider ist dies ihr einzger Roman der auf deutsch übersetzt worden ist. Es geht um Louisa, ein Mädchen vom guten Hause, die einen Traum hat: Sie möchte Ärztin werden. Sie ist begabt und klug, ihr Vater liebt sie und sie träumt von einer guten Zukunft. Als sie auf den Weg zu Freunden geschickt wird, ahnt sie nichts böses. Jedoch kommt sie nicht dort an, sondern in einer Nervenheitanstalt. Louisa glaubt an ein Irrtum. Man spricht sie mit falschem Namen an und sie hat keinen Kontackt zur Ausenwelt. Dazu kommt, dass die Betreuerinnen brutal sind. Doch sie gibt nicht auf, denn es gibt Menschen in dieser Anstalt wie sie. Und so beginnt für Louisa ein schwerer Weg, ins Leben einer selbständigen Frau. "Ich werde eine feine Dame wie Mama sein. Ich were einen gut aussehenden Mann wie Papa heiraten und ein großes Haus mit Bediensteten führen, die die ganze Arbeit machen. Wir werden eine Menge Kinder, Pferde und Hunde haben. Und du, Lou?"Das war leicht."Ich werde ein Held sein"S.64Ich liebe den Schreibstil, er ist einfach wunderschön. Genauso wie der Inhalt des Buches. Es wird sich viel mit den damaligen Problemen beschäftigt. Vor allem die Unterdrückung der Frauen, Vorurteile gegenüber Homosexuellen, wurden sehr gut beschrieben. Ich musste auch an vielen Stellen Tränen verdrücken. Die Geschichte ist einfach wundervoll, vor allem Lousia habe ich ins Herz geschlossen.Ich habe keine Kritikpunkte! Mir hat es einfach unglaublich gut gefallen, es war spannend, traurig, fröhlich, voller Liebe und hingabe an die eigene Freiheit und an das Leben.Absolut empfehlenswert! Ich weiß nicht was ich sonst noch sagen soll außer: kauf es euch!!Vor allem wen ihr Historische Romane mögt. Dies war mein Erster und ich bin absult überzeugt.

  • Taizha Ferguson
    2019-03-25 00:19

    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 what so ever. The treatment of the women is sad, and knowing that some of the events in the book where based on true stories is really heartbreaking. Imagine living in a world where men are in charge and women are treated as if they're nothing. Imagine being a woman wanting to be doctor or a lawyer and people mocking you because it's not proper for a woman to do things only a man do. It's not all that sweet and lovely.Wildthorn is the best book I've read. It's absolutly flawless. Louisa is a strong female protaganist, the plot and story is great, and it's very well written. Wildthorn is a example of how a young adult book should be.Book Grade: A+

  • Chelsea
    2019-04-02 22:20

    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 and brother will stop being disapproving!Clearly, no one explained to her that all the really daring girls dress up as boys and go do whatever they want anyway.The cover for this one is cool, with a very close up shot of the back of a corset, but the tag line is horrendous: "Treachery locks her away. Love is the key." Kill me now.

  • Victoria
    2019-04-17 16:31

    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, education = manliness, so her sexual orientation played right into these sexist fears and clouded the whole message of the book). Overall, I was quite disappointed because the book sounded so much better than it actually turned out to be.

  • Sky
    2019-04-02 00:30

    Definitely a 4.5, but I think for now I'm going to round down to a 4.

  • Jenny
    2019-04-13 22:28

    THE STORYWildthorn 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.Everyone at Wildthorn says her name is Lucy Childs and she's merely deluded herself into thinking she's this Lousia Cosgrove. The doctors and staff members claim they have her best interests in mind, but as she's stripped of her valuables, clothes, and dignity, it becomes clear that to them she's just another girl come to join the ranks of lunacy.Allies are few and far between, trust is not an option, and if she wants to prove her sanity, Louisa needs to get a look at the papers that confined her to this prison. Who could have done this? Why won't anyone listen? Who is Lucy Childs? Louisa must find the answers to all these questions and more before her mental and emotional strength is depleted by the barrenness of her circumstance, and she becomes nothing more than the simpering, mental invalid they already think her to be.MY THOUGHTSMs. Eagland certainly knows how to write a compelling story. The misery and hopelessness of having one's own identity called into question is thoroughly haunting, and Louisa's fight to retain her sanity in the face utter oblivion pulls the heart strings to a new and shocking tautness. Written in the first person, the reader is often left alone with Louisa and her thoughts as conversation in the asylum is limited at best, forcing us to live every indignity, every injustice, every betrayal with her. Her pain is our pain. Her fears are our fears. And we wish that perhaps our strength might leak through the pages and buoy her as she drifts alone through uncharted waters.If you're looking for a novel that's action-packed, this is not it. The beginning is a little slow as the story alternates between Louisa's past and present, but soon it evolves into an intellectual mystery at it's finest. A story where the reader must constantly question whether we can trust the thoughts to which we're privy. Louisa seems so certain she is who she says she is, and we're presented with multiple flashbacks of the events leading up to her institutionalization that seem to corroborate her story, but are those memories really hers? Is she really Louisa Cosgrove and this is all a mistake as we so desperately want to believe, or is she truly ill and these hints about her past are the creations of a mind with diminished capacity?Louisa herself is beautifully written as a strong, proud, intelligent, and outspoken young women living in a time where women with intellectual abilities were shunned and treated as outcasts for daring to believe they might be equals of men. A time when excessive reading, when done by a female, was thought to lead to insanity and was wholly inappropriate for the fairer sex. Louisa pushes every boundary, refusing to adhere to the standard practices of society women, and that characteristic in conjunction with her unwavering strength in the face of a seemingly hopeless fate makes her a truly inspired protagonist.Though not a dominant storyline by any means, some readers may be deterred by the exploration of a budding same-sex romance. Personally, I say those readers would be missing out on a character who isn't afraid to blur the lines of gender distinction in terms of occupation, sexuality, and place in society, and who chips away at established constructs with nothing short of an admirable confidence.A beautiful, touching, and fascinating tale, Wildthorn should be added to your to-be-read pile as soon as possible.Rating: 4/5

  • Alicia
    2019-03-21 22:34

    I really didn't see the twists and turns in this book, and I have to say, I wasn't really expecting any; more a dull, period read involving a lunatic asylum - I couldn't have been any more wrong! This was a very well-written debut centred around what might happen if someone was falsely locked up, by someone they trusted no less, in a mental asylum in Victorian times, with just enough detail to effectively describe the horrors of the asylum, but not too much so that it got boring; the 'flashback' chapters tease the reader as to what might have led to Louisa's false incarceration, provided a nice change from the scenes at Wildthorn Hall, without which, I feel that the novel may, perhaps, have gotten boring.I got pretty addicted to this book, barely able to pit it down as I was eager to find out who – and why – exactly had condemned Louisa at Wildthorn, and was refusing to let her out. I wasn’t expecting myself to, but I found that I really felt for Louisa and her situation and I certainly put the book down with more of an awareness as to what actually went on in mental asylums in Victorian times, but also in other time periods; I get the feeling that a heck of a lot of research went into this book, and it truly shows through – in a good way!In the beginning, I really wasn’t too keen on the present tense that the book in written in, and thought I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere through the book because it would be annoying me too much, but I soon accepted it and found it eventually aided the book as it helped me to picture the scenes more vividly, as though I were there. Another thing I didn’t – and still don’t, actually – like is the tagline – “Treachery locks her away. Love is the key”. The first part isn’t too bad, but the last bit is awful (even the publishers seem to agree as it varies from "is the key" to "will be the key" to "may be the key"!), though it might appeal to romance fans who will soon discover it is not that kind of book, though it might just be me!From the first few flashbacks, I made the automatic judgement that Tom, Louisa’s brother, was pretty much evil and that the mother was far too stifling, but you eventually learn a few of their reasons for being so, though my judgement remains virtually unchanged. The ending wrapped a lot of things up, but still left a few tantalising details, like what had happened to one of the residents, unanswered, though I would be horrified if there was a sequel announced as there is literally no need – the unanswered titbits serve to let your imagination run wild.A surprising, satisfying novel, which leaves me immensely glad that I have the author’s other novel – Whisper My Name – which has just moved to the top of my To Be Read pile.

  • Becky
    2019-03-30 00:36

    Louisa Cosgrove wants to know everything. She is smart, driven, and confident. Unfortunately, she's also a Victorian girl from a well to do family and only expected to marry and have children. Louisa fights the constraints placed on her sex until the day she's locked away in an asylum. Stripped of all her clothes, her dignity, even her own name. Louisa, now called Lucy Childs is certain that a mistake has been made. She is not Lucy Childs and she does not belong in Wildthorn Asylum, but the more she insists this, the more mad she seems. She has to look deep within herself for strength and trust in the goodness of others to be able to climb her way out of the hole she is in. I was originally drawn to this book because of the awesome cover. The image of the heavily corseted woman is completely perfect for the story. Louisa is constrained in every aspect of her life. Yes, she physically has to wear a corset, but she's also kept from doing all the things she loves, everything that interests her. Instead she has to watch her brother live the life she longs for - a life he neither wants nor appreciates.We are given Louisa's story in snippets of flashbacks after she is committed to the asylum. Through these peeks into her past, the reader will come to care more and more for her. I found myself really identifying with her. I can't imagine wanting to read and being told that a woman who learns will be driven insane by too much knowledge.During Victorian times women could be locked up in asylums for behaving in unbecoming ways. Seriously, wearing the wrong clothes, speaking too loudly, disagreeing with men, and having interests other than home and hearth could get you labeled insane! Whoops, looks like I'm completely off my rocker. The view of the inside of the asylum was horribly fascinating. The author used to be a teacher so you know she did some serious research before writing the book. It was awful to think that places like Wildthorn used to exist.The story itself is engrossing. The plot unfolds slowly and steadily and I could not stop turning pages. I read this book practically in one sitting (had to do some dishes/laundry) because I needed to know what was going to happen to Louisa next as well as what had led her to Wildthorn. This is a compelling story with engaging characters and prose that will transport you off your couch and into the life of a Victorian girl who will enthrall you. Seriously, read this book.

  • Candace
    2019-04-02 22:36

    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 someone betrays you and locks you up in an insane asylum because of it. The description pretty much lays the story out for you. Through out the beginning, and perhaps past even the middle of the book, we are brought back to the events leading up to this current point in her life. I spent time time trying to unravel the mystery of who could have betrayed her and sent her to the asylum. I wasn't exactly correct in my assumptions, and found plenty of twists and turns. One thing that some may or may not like is the romance in this book. It's not exactly lacking romance, but it's not of the conventional sort. Some may dislike it. But I found myself liking it and I thought the way it was portrayed showed the time period and how things went. But lovers of the traditional romance may not be so impressed.This was a book that as I read it I was constantly searching for the words I would use in my review. How I can properly describe the amazing-ness of this fantastic book. I still find myself lacking words to truly describe the emotional ride this book sent me on. I was sent on a twisting roller coaster that was gut wrenching and emotionally taxing. But I loved every minute of it. And once I finished I immediately called my mother so I could talk about it. I just couldn't NOT talk about it! You seriously need to order this book NOW!

  • AngelaM
    2019-04-16 22:42

    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!

  • Kirsty
    2019-04-10 23:35

    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 can make her way back to where she belongs...I picked this up from the 'recommended' shelf at my local library. The cover caught my eye and as I seem to have a thing for historical fiction at the moment, I decided to try it. I'm glad I did, as it was a really enjoyable story. The writing was decent enough, but it wasn't as great as in other YA books I've read recently. The plot was interesting and definitely kept the pages turning. The characterisation was good. I loved that throughout the book there were points where Louisa was questioning herself and her motives. This made it much more interesting. I also liked the side story, which I won't spoil. It definitely added to the story.In all, a good read.

  • Nafiza
    2019-04-18 18:48

    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 portray the sense of helplessness and the frustration felt by Louise in a very realistic manner. The book is at times compelling, so compelling that you read like lightning and at others it makes you unwilling to continue because you are not sure if you want to know what happens next. But always you are helpless but to read on until you reach the fairly satisfying conclusion. And oh, I must mention that I love the cover. The fact that it is a corset which basically represents oppression in women is a delicious subtle manner of speaking about the subject of the book without being explicit about it. I love the symbolism.

  • Sally
    2019-03-21 22:23

    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 :)

  • M A
    2019-04-07 17:18

    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 unfolds via Louisa's struggles to survive the indignities of her seemingly fraudulent commitment to a lunatic asylum alternating with flashbacks portraying past events leading up to her institutionalization. Use of flashbacks often risks distracting a reader or losing his interest, but Wildthorn is a novel where this method works very well and packs quite an impact. Chapters separate flashbacks from the main narrative, so it’s hard to get “lost.” The author provides insights and hints as to why Louisa might have been diagnosed as mentally ill and who might have diagnosed her and committed her. Readers familiar with the Victorian era should have a better sense of the causes leading to Louisa's situation, but the dehumanization, loss of privacy, and other abuses Louisa faces or witnesses at Wildthorn are no less horrible for the knowledge. These points are meticulously well-researched, as are other aspects of Victorian culture. Period and setting are alive and well in Wildthorn.Although I enjoyed this book in most respects and considered it well worth my time, I felt characterization and plotting suffered, particularly during the book's falling action and ending. I realize Louisa is supposed to be a "modern woman ahead of her time," but I found some of her attitudes and characterization improbable. It struck me as unlikely Louisa (daughter of a comfortable, middle-class Victorian family) would lack basic understanding of etiquette, the importance related to family social connections and "good breeding," and so on. Louisa is an intelligent, sensible female, and most highly intelligent people learn how to conform sufficiently to function in society. We are frequently shown how intelligent Louisa, an aspiring medical student, is, but at other times she sounds like a complete social moron. I believe Eagland intended to make Louisa more relatable to present-day readers, but it cost authenticity. Louisa doesn't sound like a genuine Victorian girl/woman. Even Victorian women pushing for suffrage and other social reform adhered to some degree to the social and cultural standards of their time. Instead, Louisa sounded like a 21st century girl trapped in the past, constantly bewildered and horrified by limitations placed upon her due to her gender. I have mixed feelings about the romance subplot revealing Louisa's same-sex preferences. On one hand, I applaud Eagland for introducing interesting and very human lesbian characters. At the same time, Louisa's lesbianism struck me as a tad gratuitous and not relevant to the plot. The romance itself wasn't all that pertinent to the story and, for me, at least, Eliza's romantic attraction to Louisa cheapened her willingness to believe Louisa's story and aid in her escape. I also doubted Louisa's sincere feelings for Eliza; Louisa's situation as an inmate at Wildthorn was so horrible, it seemed to me she'd love anyone who showed her any kindness or compassion. Eagland did her best to portray realistic affection and attraction growing between Louisa and Eliza, but I just couldn't buy it given the circumstances. The tight storytelling fell apart near the end when the mysteries behind Louisa's ordeal are revealed and the subsequent aftermath. Eagland seemed to go out of her way to absolve everyone involved of real blame. The responsible parties are all either stupid, jealous, misinformed, impaired by substance abuse, or a combination of the above. I liked that Louisa found forgiveness and prepared to go on with her life on her own terms, but I would have felt better about it if the principles in the conspiracy experienced real consequences directly related to their actions. As for the final chapter and "happy for now" resolution to Louisa and Eliza's romance, I found it believable, but also sort of sad. Throughout the entire story, we witness Louisa's steadfast refusal to conform to society's limitations standing in the way of her dreams to study medicine, but she conforms to social expectation and conceals her love affair under a mistress/servant relationship. Again, it just sort of "pulled me out of the book." Louisa did exactly what many Victorian men (and, I suppose women) did when attracted to people "beneath them" socially. I liked this book in terms of its overall style and its subject matter. The conclusion’s not perfect, but I enjoyed the journey and will read it again.Heat Level: 0 – 1 (1 very brief, non-explicit love scene)Grade: B+ (excellent writing quality, historically accurate, execution suffers a tad toward the end)

  • Whatchyareading
    2019-04-06 19:30

    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 a wrong turn and the woman she’s traveling with dumps her at Wildthorn Hall where everyone calls her Lucy Childs, Louisa is sure there has been some terrible mistake. She isn’t insane. She doesn’t belong locked up these people in this horrible place. She isn’t sure anyone should be locked up in Wildthorn Hall. Louisa becomes determined to unravel the mystery of how she came be in an insane asylum, before Wildthorn Hall makes her truly insane.I started this book sometime after dinner, read straight through and finished around three in the morning. I needed to know who had send Louisa to Wildthorn.The book is separated into two parts. The first starts with Louisa’s arrival at Wildthorn and then alternates with flashbacks to her childhood leading up to what made her decide to leave home in the first place. As we are introduced to the people in her life suspicion keeps switching around as, in present day, Louisa begins to understand the inner politics of Wildthorn Hall and finds she isn’t the only one who has suffered an injustice in being sent to Wildthorn.I love the cast of characters in this book. Each one surprising and each one with qualities that you can both love and hate. Especially Louisa’s brother. I thought I’d hate him at the end but, like Louisa, I found that I just felt sorry for him. There was one character who I did end up hating but I can’t say who as it would spoil the whole thing. Needless to say this character had the opposite journey of lot of the others. I really liked him/her at the beginning and by the end I thought s/he was a waste of humanity.What the blurb on this book doesn’t make clear, that I really think it should, is that this is a feminist book. Or, a term that doesn’t make you think of degrading men but more empowering women. Louisa is a very intelligent child growing up as part of an upper-middle class family in Victorian England. She wants to be a doctor just like her father and grandfather. She does science experiments in her bedroom, reads as much as she can, and knows that she is just as capable as any man to go after her dreams. Dreams that do not include getting married and having children and running a house that will be a safe retreat from the world for her husband. The brief glimpses Louisa’s mother shows her of what a woman’s life is like only serve to make her more determined to be a doctor.I really loved Louisa’s spunk and courage. You see her yell at a table full of men and tell them that she is just as capable as all them to be smart and have a career. When she is trapped in Wildthorn she doesn’t dismiss the people around her as lunatics, she tries to find out their stories as well. She wants to help all of them as much as she wants to escape from her prison. Even during her darkest hours she expresses concern for others and shows herself to have that…quality…that we wish all doctors had. The need to see something through to the end.The one thing I wish the book had more of was admirable male characters. There was only one. And I’m all for books being about how women can be just as, if not more, intelligent and capable then men but that doesn’t mean the men in their lives need to simpering morons. While Louisa’s father was a fantastic male role-model who obviously loved his daughter and was so proud of how smart she was, he was the only instance of this that we saw. I like intelligent men as much as I like intelligent women.Although, to be fair, that weren’t all that many good female role-models in this book either. The time period Wildthorn takes place in is showcased well, right down to women who are raised believing that their only purpose is to get married and run the household. When I finally did find out why Louisa was accused of being insane I wanted to slap every single character in this book. Male or female, good or bad. The differences between this time and that one are showcased perfectly.I’ve heard some criticism that the ending was too happy for such a dark book but I disagree. I don’t think Louisa’s life was all sunshine and daisies after these events, I think the author simply chose to end the book with a happy scene.Reviewed on WhatchYAreading on October 4, 2010.

  • Camille
    2019-04-04 19:24

    I finished Wildthorn, and, in only 1 day.From the moment I started this book, I wanted to keep reading. I couldn't stop wondering what was going on, and I was easily captivated by the story Jane Eagland tells.Louisa Cosgrove is not your average 17 year old girl, instead, she seeks to have more than most women around her: she wants to become a doctor, just like her father. However, those around her, including her own brother, do not approve of this as it is not a ladylike profession for her to pursue. Instead she is going to be sent to stay with a companion, another young lady of her own age. Instead, she finds that she has ended up at an insane asylum called Wildthorn. Here no one believes her name is Louisa Cosgrove, instead they insist she is Lucy Childs and that she is mentally insane.A period novel set in Victorian times Louisa (or is it Lucy?) is convinced that she does not belong at Wildthorn. She spends her days trying to figure out how she ended up her, why she ended up her, and what she can do to escape.The harder Louisa tries to escape, the more dire her situation becomes. She starts in an alright situation, with those around her slightly crazy but her conditions are not the most terrible. However, she knows she does not belong and tries to find a way out. As punishment for her efforts she is sent to worse and worse conditions within the asylum, including a few miserable days in solitary confinement, strapped to a mattress, unable to move. She finds herself again in the company of others, but this time with the truly mentally insane.Louisa befriends an employee, Eliza, and hopes that she can put some trust in her in order to escape. However, will Eliza help her, or will she betray her, just like so many others before her? Why is Louisa here? Is she truly Louisa Cosgrove, or is she mad when she believes she's Louisa? If so, who is this Lucy Childs?Louisa is determined to figure out who sent her here, and why she was sent, all the while keeping a secret of her own, a secret that may be the key to why she was locked away in the first place. Will this secret ever come to light? Is it the key to why she is locked away? Or is she truly mentally insane? Is she actually Lucy Childs and has her life as Louisa Cosgrove merely been a figment of her imagination?Jane Eagland tells a wonderful story or life in a period insane asylum. Conditions were absolutely disgusting, and Eagland does not shy away from this fact. Perhaps she does not even go far enough to describe the true conditions that a typical patient in such a place would go through.However, Eagland draws you in from the beginning and you cannot help but wonder if Louisa is Louisa, or if Louisa is Lucy. You are able to feel her pain and concern as she seeks to escape from such a place, but all the while you have to wonder how she ended up here. You see glimpses into Louisa's younger days, including the several weeks leading up to her arriving at Wildthorn. Louisa, it is clear, is not your average girl, she is not content to just be a wife, mother and a lady. Instead, she wants to be a doctor, a profession that no one else supports her in pursuing.I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so that I could not put it down and ended up reading all 400 pages in one day. I had to break for a doctor's appointment and the whole while all I could do was wonder what the mystery was, and if Louisa would ever solve it.Perhaps the outcome is a bit disappointing, but perhaps you do not see it coming, it all depends on your perspective. Personally, I would have loved another twist, but Eagland made sure to throw in a few large twists. I would say it is well worth the read, especially if you like period fiction and especially if you like novels with a darker overtone. Obviously, an asylum as the setting makes it clear this book is not all sunshine and rainbows.In the end, does Louisa escape? Is she Louisa? Or is she actually Lucy? Does she ever find out why she was committed? Who was responsible? Does she get to escape? Does her dark secret come to light, and does it harm her? Or does it help Louisa heal? And in the midst of the worst experience of her life, is it possible that Louisa can find love?Read Wildthorn by Jane Eagland to find out. I don't think you'll be disappointed.