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A book by Jane Eagland

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Fascinating story of betrayal and love

  • Aug 5, 2010
Something is seriously wrong. Louisa Cosgrove thought she was supposed to be taken to stay with the Woodvilles, but instead, she's at someplace called Wildthorn Hall and people are calling her Lucy Childs. But Louisa isn't Lucy...is she? She doesn't belong in an insane asylum, right? Louisa is determined to figure out why she's here, but she has nothing, not even her own identity. Still she persists, because she knows she has to escape. She cannot stay here or she will surely lose herself--and the possibility of the truth--forever.

Wildthorn is a unique story of betrayal and love in the nineteenth century. It opens with Louisa's arrival at Wildthorn Hall, so the reader is just as knowledgeable about the situation as Louisa is. This takes the reader along for a ride as Louisa tries to find out who would do such a horrible thing as imprison her with the mentally ill. It might seem that through her vehement denials of being Lucy Childs and crazy would prove her insane, but I never had a doubt that Louisa was perfectly rational. The flashbacks that are peppered in through Part One of the book only solidify this by providing background on Louisa and her unusual upbringing. Learning about the motives for committing Louisa and the people responsible for the dreadful act will be rather tragic for most female readers, particularly those who consider themselves independent women. Most of Louisa's characteristics are progressive for her time and will resonate with modern women, even if other aspects of her are more difficult to relate to. Overall, Wildthorn is a very satisfying read that will keep readers guessing but also smiling at the sweet ending.

Wildthorn appeals to readers with a taste for the historical and women's rights; those who enjoyed Folly by Marthe Jocelyn, Ivy by Julie Hearn, and A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly will be interested in this novel.

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About the reviewer
Rachael Stein ()
Ranked #817
THE BOOK MUNCHER is the reviewing alias of a prolific teen reader. She is guilty of several overflowing bookshelves in multiple states. Her literary diet is mostly dedicated to the young adult fiction … more
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About this book


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.
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ISBN-10: 0547370172
ISBN-13: 978-0547370170
Author: Jane Eagland
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
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