Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove is determined to become a doctor. While it is certainly frowned upon in society, her father encourages her studies. Her mother on the other hand expresses her aversion, tea parties and social visits are the place for a young woman- not a classroom. When Louisa's father passes away, she can feel her dreams slipping away too. Her brother and constant competitor will never allow her to become a doctor. Her mother is slipping in and out of reality, unable to cope with the loss of her husband. Louisa is told that she will have to work as a companion for a well to do family. She's reluctant but willing, her relationship with her mother is dwindling and her brother is never home. When the carriage takes a strange turn, Louisa thinks nothing of it. The carriage stops, her traveling companion continues on and Louisa is confused. She's standing outside Wildthorn Hall, an asylum. Louisa is further bewildered when everyone keeps calling her 'Lucy Childs.' Louisa is sure this must be a terrible mistake, she must convince someone that she is not 'Lucy Childs.' She has no idea why she has been placed here, she has no idea who is paying for her stay, and she has no idea how to leave. It soon becomes clear that she has been placed here by someone, it wasn't a mistake. Someone close to Louisa is a heinous, cunning individual. Louisa is determined to figure out who is responsible for her admittance. Along the way Louisa faces deplorable conditions, many nights of opium induced sleep and is shocked by the mistreatment of the 'insane.' The harder she tries to escape, the more dire her situation becomes.
'Wildthorn' is a modern-day gothic tale set during Victorian times. It's one of those page-turning, unique and captivating stories. One you will put aside and be sad to leave the characters behind. The cover may draw you in, but the story keeps you hooked. Alternating between past and present, Jane Eagland transports her readers to the Victorian era and introduces Louisa, an uncompromising, head-strong woman. A young woman living in the wrong era. Louisa is smart, resourceful and determined and readers will be rooting for her every step of the way. 'Wildthorn' is a distinct young-adult, historical fiction read. I found Louisa's sexuality very interesting, and was happy to see this explored. Jane Eagland did a great job of handling Louisa's burgeoning sexuality, her confusion and repulsion was very understandable given the era. It's hard growing up when your brother hates you, you can't possibly live up to your mother expectations, and your father gave you everything but didn't prepare you for life after he was gone. Is Louisa, Louisa or is she Lucy? To find out, you'll have to pick this one up yourself. Highly recommended!