A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{January 17, 2011}   Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Plot: Louisa has always been different from other girls. She wants to be a doctor, has no interest in marriage and is strangely attracted to her cousin Grace. Not everyone appreciates this difference. She finds herself confined to the Wildthorn asylum where everyone insists on calling her Lucy Childs. Louisa knows that she is not crazy but fears that if she stays at Wildthorn she soon will be.

This is a very interesting book. It’s very different from Jane Austen-style Victorian romances. It is about a girl who does not fit into the mold of the cultured, marriageable lady of those stories. It is also a bit terrifying because, while this is not a true story, it is clearly inspired by the lives of real women who didn’t conform.

Eagland does a good job of  building suspense and of describing the horrors of Wildthorn (the worst being not the violence but the knowledge that protesting your sanity makes you seem crazier). There is a constant claustrophobic feeling that there is no escape and no one she can trust.

As an added bonus, there is a nice romance. It builds gradually throughout the novel and it is quite sweet and realistic.

Challenges: Historical YA challenge (3), Into the Old World Challenge (4), GLBT Challenge (1)


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