Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

This is the first book I’ve read from NetGalley! I recently found out about the site and joined straight away. A special thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for giving me a chance to read it.

Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor’s daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself – and others – in order to be set free. And love may be the key…

Out of the whole book, I tremendously enjoyed the flashbacks that gave an insight as to how Louisa got into the asylum. I couldn’t get myself to stop reading because I was so intrigued as she uncovered all the secrets. I had to know what happened to Louisa at the end. I couldn’t figure out if Wildthorn was going to end with a sad or happy ending. I enjoyed the book a lot, but once I did get to the ending, I thought it started to get a little too drawn out.

I loved the main character. Louisa is intelligent, clever, and passionate. I love that she does not care what others think of her. She sets her own standards and goes after what she believes in. I love that she is an avid reader and itches to study, despite that society dictates it improper.

I was not a fan of the “unconventional” romance in the book. I don’t want to say much about it because it is a huge spoiler if I do, but to me, I just couldn’t feel the passion or chemistry. I felt like the romance was planted in the novel for the sake of just putting it in there. I guess that Eagland was trying to point out another issue in Victorian society, but I thought the two characters were better off as friends.

Speaking of issues, I love how this book brings up several issues. It made me realize how far in mental health we have come today. The state of the asylums back in the Victorian times is atrocious from the living conditions to the way patients are treated. It’s hard to imagine today that a normal woman could be confined in an institution, but I can definitely see it happening back then, when women had no say in anything. As I’m packing for college, I feel thankful that I at least have the opportunity of seeking higher education. Women like Louisa looked to learn more but were not allowed because of their gender.

Rating: StarStarStar

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