‘Wildthorn’ By Jane Eagland

Book review of ‘Wildthorn’ By Jane Eagland copyright date 2009 and genres I would say are teen, thriller, romance, period and historical fiction.

The story is told by the main character, Louisa Cosgrove, a daughter of a doctor. She wants to break free of the traditional role of a woman and longs to become a doctor. Her dreams become shattered when on one journey she finds herself in an asylum due to how she is as a person.

When she is in the asylum she is deprived of dignity and her real name. Along with battling to unravel who put her in there in the first place and why. She is also trying to find herself and discover why being different is such a big problem. She learns that she can only really rely on a few people and is shocked by her discoveries of the truth of what has being going on around her.

My opinion of the main character was mixed sometimes she is childish and rebellious. Louisa character when she is young and demonstrates the innocent nature of not understanding the order and how things are, and why they are like that.  As an adult she becomes across as an outcast and how has been confused on how she felt about people.

She also seemed it a bit selfish as it was only near the end that she realized the impact of her actions. I did feel sympathy for the character when she got portrayed but found the cutting up of the doll a bit disturbing. I also felt her struggle and pain the towards the end when we learn the truth about all her family, Its book where you just want the main character to end up having a happy ending.

Which character do I feel I relate to most is probably Louisa mother as she tried her best to try to make her daughter act and behave in the correct manner. Louisa would come across as childish and immature at these times. I guess for a mum during that time it must have been hard to tame a girl’s interested that aint expected or accepted as a womans role, but at the same time to praise and encourage.

Other characters I liked was Louisa’s dad as he comes across as sweet, adorable and only wants Louisa to be happy. He praised and encouraged Louisa in her studies. I also felt Louisa’s anger towards her brother as first he comes across as a person who enjoys whining his sister up the typical sibling rivalry. He liked to remind Louisa that she was girl. I think he was scared of Louisa doing better than him. The brothers character also highlighted how some men probably took their educational opportunities for granted and through their money away.  I could understand Louisa’s frustration when her brother is the way he is towards the end of the book. He comes across as angry or embarrassed when Louisa mentions studying or their father.

Wildthorn is told through Louisa Cosgrove point of view shifting between her current situations and past events.  Louisa changed from immature, weird and unsure of herself to ambitious, understanding, forgiving to an extent and discovering who she is.

I guess the book has asked the question do you really want to speculate and take things at face value, it demonstrates this through Louisa family connections as there are shades of grey that have made people who they are. That it isn’t a black and white picture with a simple solution.

Another question is that it wasn’t normal to feel who she did in them days as it highlights how people had to hide and careful about their true feelings.

I learnt that people’s relationships go through all sorts of emotions and situations. I think now days we should be grateful that we can be open and honesty about everything and not to stick to the attitude of sweeping it under the carpet. It demonstrated that having  secrets can affect how one understands that person. That it is never good to pretend to be perfect and play keeping up appearances as it’s not realistic.

I think the location was important for the story as it highlighted the different social classes and status. Though how ones talks and the accent versus queens english. The time of period was important in portraying this story as it wouldn’t have had the same shock and sympathy reactions in the story if it was set in present day. Louisa sexuality threw me most. I was not expecting that at all. I was expecting a typical period romance.

Alternative titles maybe asylum as this is the main place where the story takes place.

My favourite two quotes are:

‘How can you say such stupid things! Elizabeth Garrett Anderson is married with children! And there are other brave, clever women who have struggled against all the odds to be doctors and proved themselves equal of any man. They’re not a disgrace to their sex but a fine example’ Louisa Cosgrove page 284.

I like this quote as it sums up the attitudes that existed at the time in regards to women working. My second favourite quote is:

‘Without my quite knowing how it’s happened, we’re kissing. Her lips are dry and warm and I feel shy at first, tentative….. and then I can’t help myself’ Page 326. This is when Louisa discovered what she wants and who she is.

My favourite scene would have to be when she confronts Grace’s mother for what she done to Louisa. I liked the time period and location. How the main character challenges a women’s role and taboo subjects. My least favourite part is when Louisa as a child rips apart a doll. I found this quite disturbing and weird.

I liked how the book ended overall though it would have been nice to see whether Eliza and Louisa revealed their secrets to others. Lasting impressions value your freedom and not to see things as black and white. The cover gave me the impression that it was going to be an erotic romance story. I would recommend this book to people who like historical, period dramas, romance fiction and books that challenge people’s views. I would give this book an 9 out of 10.



Author: Helen Ingram

Self Published author, artist, interviewer and owner of New Art United