Wildthorn

 
4.0
 
3.8 (3)
1925 0
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
ISBN
0547370172
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Editor reviews

1 reviews

Amazing Tale
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove finds herself taken by a horse-drawn carriage to Wildthorn Hall, an asylum for the insane.

She's called by a different name and treated as if she's insane. Only later she finds the terrible truth--that's she's been betrayed for refusing to follow the norms of her society. She's determined to escape. But will she?

This is an amazing tale of what happened to women that didn't follow the norms of Victorian England. The author shows us a teen who finds herself in a insane asylum and the horrors that faced young women at that time. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be told that reading and studying too much would lead to a weakening of the mind. Or for a woman to be discouraged from being anything else than a mother and wife.

Louisa is determined and stubborn in her refusal to bow down to others even when locked in the insane asylum. She's also not afraid to be true to herself especially with her attraction to first her cousin Grace then later Eliza.

I loved the details and lush descriptions in this novel. I cringed at some of the ways so-called doctors 'cured' those who they claimed were mentally ill. The scene where Louisa finds herself in the Fifth ward is especially intense.

Haunting and engaging, this extraordinary tale is one that I'm sure we'll be hearing more of! A must read to those who love historicals and great tales.
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User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.8
Plot 
 
3.7  (3)
Characters 
 
4.0  (3)
Writing Style 
 
3.7  (3)
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Sarah Waters for the younger reader
Overall rating 
 
2.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
This book was an easy read and I enjoyed that the events of the present were broken up by chapters exploring the past. It was a really good format for this kind of book. The premise was interesting enough to grab my attention and the events in the book were enough to keep it. The book felt very much like a first novel, which it was, and that lack of skill was noticeable in parts. However, for young LGBT readers, who are not old enough for Sarah Waters but love historical fiction, this is a great book for them to read.
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The YA Sarah Waters
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Wildthorn is not an ideal choice for those in search of happy fun times all the way through, but definitely an interesting topic not much touched on in teen literature. The first half of the novel switches between Louisa's experiences in the mental institution and her memories of her life and how she ended up there. Louisa is very sympathetic for a modern audience. The portrayal of the mental institution clearly reveals the horridness of that setup. Troublesome women truly were shunted off into these institutions and they could do nothing to escape. Most poignant is the impossibility of proving one's sanity. How do you convince people that you are not crazy when they keep calling you by a name that is not your own?

The lesbian angle was interesting too. Finding LGBT fiction for teens can be difficult; I took a course on young adult resources and in the week on this topic, we had no books about lesbians. This book fills a gap in teen literature and does quite a good job of it. Eagland does not shy away from the topic, nor does she overdo it. The story manages to be sweet and serious, a solid, slightly more deep than average teen read. It also has a beautiful cover!

Recommended if you like Sarah Waters, since this seems much like a teen version of Fingersmith.
Good Points
LGBT, Victorian
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Interesting
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Who put me here? That is the question that Louisa Cosgrove keeps thinking of as she is held captive in Wildthorn Hall, an insane asylum. They take her clothes and her name, calling her Lucy Childs instead.
Louisa doesn't understand. She isn't crazy! She knows who she is! She is Louisa Cosgrove, an independant young woman with a head on her shoulders.Which is exactly why her mother always seemed disappointed.... And her father seemed so happy.
Take an amazingly twisty ride right alongside Louisa as she fights for her freedom and life. An amazingly accurate and deep tale with interesting turns awaiting in every chapter
Good Points
Accurate
Interesting
The way it's written
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