Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 10:33 AM
Title: Wildthorn
Author: Jane Eagland (site)
Available: September 6th, 2010
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pages: 368 (ebook)
Price: $9.33 Book Depository $11.52 Amazon
Rating: 3.5/5
Synopsis: 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... (Goodreads)

Initial Thoughts: I downloaded this book from Net Galley and read it on my Nook. I was drawn to the cover, hoping that it would be like A Great And Terrible Beauty or The Prophecy of the Sisters. I love the idea of writing about a girl falsely labelled insane. I especially like that she has no idea who committed her or why they gave her a different name.

Review: I loved the atmosphere of this book. They kept you in suspense about why Louisa was in the asylum and whether or not she'd ever get out. There were no quick or easy answers. Whenever the day-to-day asylum life started to get dull, the author would give you a glimpse of her life before, starting when she was a child. The way these flashbacks were woven into the plot, slowly helping you understand what might have led to her imprisonment, was perfectly done. Louisa's despair and horror were very real, I was sucked right into the novel. It was painful to watch her being stripped of her dignity, excruciatingly suspenseful as she begins to spiral down into madness for real. Will she escape in time? Will she find out who put her in there? Or will she finally become what she's been labelled? One thing that I liked about this book: you were never certain that she'd escape. You can usually tell early on whether or not an author is prepared to sacrifice her main character for the good of the story. In Wildthorn, I wanted to believe that she would come out of it alright, but I was always afraid that she wouldn't. My one problem with this book was the romance. After reading the synopsis, I was prepared for a slowly developing love between Louisa and a doctor or attendant at the asylum. After reading a bit of background, I thought that maybe it would be the cousin. About 3/4 of the way through the novel, I didn't care WHO it was, as long as there was going to be a bit of romance. It's not that I need romance in a novel, it's that she really deserved it. This girl needed to catch a break. Once she did fall in love, it was a bit too abrupt. I felt like she suddenly went from "well, she's nice" to "she's the love of my life, I will never leave her." I liked that her love interest turned out the be a woman, but I felt that it was a pretty big coincidence that she would run into another lesbian in that time period who just happened to be in the right place and was interested in her. Coincidences aside, I thought they were perfect for one another. I'm not going to spoil it by saying who, but I suppose I've already given it away by saying it's a 'she.' I would have like to see a more slowly developed relationship, but I supposed that wouldn't have been realistic either. I also thought that the character in the flashbacks and the character in the asylum were very different, but I suppose that could be attributed to shock. Overall, this was a very good read. Suspenseful, interesting, terrifying, and (ultimately) very satisfying.

Quick Review: A harrowing tale of a woman with no way out of a situation she barely understands, with great atmosphere and mystery. Be aware that the romance is not a big part of this novel, but a nice way to tie things up for the main character.