Thursday, September 2, 2010

Book Review: Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Title: Wildthorn
Author: Jane Eagland
Edition: Paperback (my version was an eBook)
Genre: YA Paranormal History
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 06 September 2010

Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself - and others - in order to be set free. And love may be the key...

My thoughts:
 I do not usually read YA novels but sometimes a story just calls to you no matter what genre it is. And this was the case with Wildthorn. Although it is not a true story, it could just have been. Young girls in the early 1800’s had no real rights and were at the mercy of the men in their families. It was not uncommon to hear of a "troublesome" girl put in Victorian insane asylum when her family did not want to deal with her or the “problems” anymore.

Our story begins with Louisa Cosgrave's journey to be employed at Wildthorn Estate as a companion to girl her own age – or so she thinks. She soon wakes up to the reality of her betrayal when she find herself at Wildthorn, but not the estate she hoping for.  But she is expected . . . and there is no employment waiting. And they insist on calling her Lucy Childs . . .

The story alternates between the present and flashbacks of certain events in Louisa's life. Throughout the book, we are kept in the dark. Are these really Louisa’s memories or is it just Lucy's mind playing tricks on her?

The descriptions of life in the asylum was hard to read although I don't doubt for a minute that it is true to life.  I have read a few historical novels but this was the first book where young women were thought crazy when they wanted to learn.  A scary idea.

The story constantly hints at the different people that might be responsible for sending Louisa to this terrible place but I have to admit that the true culprit was a surprise to me.

I really enjoyed this book - it was a quick and entertaining read and I would recommend it highly.

I received this book for review from the publisher.  The opinions expressed are my own and I wasn't influenced in any way.

This review was also added to GOODREADS, BOOK BLOGS and


  1. This book sounds interesting. I steered away from it because it's YA. What do you think is it still good enough for adult readers? I loved Twilight, Hunger Games and Vampire Academy but most of the other YA I have read didn't do it for me.

  2. I don't read YA as a rule, but this story didn't feel like a normal YA. I really enjoyed it.

  3. Saw your blog mentioned on the September Spectacular Reading Challenge site and thought I'd stop by and say hello. Nice to have met you.

  4. Thanks for joining the September Spectacular. Great review!

  5. Very nice review of a book that I have not heard much about. Thanks for the recommendation.
    The dogs are have a lovely blog :)

  6. Visiting from the bloghop. Thanks for sharing your review

  7. I too read Wildthorn and loved it. I used to read Gothic romance many years ago when I was young. I never once doubted Louisa's sanity. I seem to be the only one who has read it that didn't. I just read it as a straight forward account of what happened to her. And then when I found out who had really betrayed her, I was totally shocked.

    I too have heard or read a little about how the mentally ill were treated in previous centuries. I 'll just say, I'm glad I wasn't in an asylum back then. In some places, I've heard it isn't much better now.

    I came over for the blog hop. I always like to meet people from different countries. We are celebrating Banned Books Week (some of us are) at the end of September, celebrating the books that were retained and not banned or challenged but not banned. Some of these were all the Harry Potter books because parents thought it promoted the Wiccan religion. Anyway I wondered if your country banned books or had a constitutional law allowing Freedom of Speech like we do (though it seems it sometimes doesn't always stick).



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