Book Review: Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication date: September 2010
ISBN: 9780547370170

Source: e-book provided by NetGalley


Louisa is a headstrong seventeen-year-old, growing up in the Victorian era.  A girl who doesn't fit into the normal mold of women at that time.  She longs to be a doctor like her father.  Instead, she is taken to Wildthorn Hall, an institution for the insane.  While she tries to maintain her sanity amid the deplorable conditions, she also tries to figure out how she ended up there and who is responsible.  To escape this prison, she must find out who she really is and what she really wants.

Things I Liked:
I liked Louisa.  She was a woman who knew what she wanted (before Wildthorn anyway) and she tried to get it.  The creepy and historical setting of the story was my favorite thing about the book.  The parts about Wildthorn were really psychologically horrible and disturbing.  It felt very much like a Gothic horror novel and the atmosphere was just perfect for that.  I began to feel and see what it would be like to be put there and slowly wonder if you are going insane.  Interesting historical fiction with a spunky heroine.

Things I Didn't Like:
I thought the romantic interest (at least in the first part of the book) was kind of like an afterthought.  It didn't really relate to the central point of the book or even her incarceration at Wildthorn.  The romance in the second part was more integrated, but still felt a little extraneous.  I definitely could have done without the epilogue, which seemed very out of character with the straight-laced feeling of the rest of the book.  I'm not sure I'd recommend the book as one I liked, however it does fill a unique niche in historical fiction with a LGBT character.

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

A Golden Web by Barbara Quick

s-factor: none
that I recall

mrg-factor: XXX
only kissing (between girls), until the epilogue (which adds the extra X's)

v-factor: ->-> 
some violence, but mostly just horrific deprivations depicted

Overall rating: ***

What's your favorite "girl stuck in a time when women couldn't learn, but she really wants to" book?

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