Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Inconvenient or mentally ill?

Title: Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
368 pages
Genre: YA fiction

I received an electronic copy of this book free from the publisher.  It is currently available in stores. 


Synopsis: 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 . . .

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.

Review: I was excited to read this when I read a review on another Reader of Fictions Blog, I was not disappointed.  Flip flopping between the past and present we learn how Louisa may have found herself in an asylum and out of the way of her family.  A common way of getting inconvenient female members of the family  out of the way, after all who would believe a woman?

Louisa's father is a physician and her mother is overbearing and desperately wants Louisa to behave like a proper lady.  Louisa has other plans, she want to be a hero, and follow in her fathers footsteps.  Her brother is being groomed to be a physician as well, but school doesn't come as easy to him as it does Louisa, causing jealousy between the two.  When Louisa's father dies suddenly her dreams may die with him.  It is now up to her brother to help her fulfill her dreams of being a physician but old jealousy's die hard.

Now Louisa finds herself in an asylum.  She doesn't know how she got there and she doesn't know why they keep calling her by someone else's name but how do you convince someone you're not crazy? The conditions inside Wildthorn are far from ideal where staff take their anger and frustrations out on the girls in their care and the living conditions are far from ideal. Dirty mattresses, vermin, and archaic treatments to "help" them get better.  But Louisa is a smart girl and with help she may be able to change her situation.

While we eventually find out that Louisa is a lesbian this is really not a main theme of the story, it just is, and this fact is woven into the story and not made a big deal of.  Wildthorn is really more about Louisa and how she got to the Asylum, her life before and how she can get her life back. Wildthorn is a nice edition the young adult lgbt fiction out there.

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