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.
When you peruse through my Review Index (which, I'm sure you do on a daily basis ;-) ), then you'd probably realize I'm not the biggest historical fiction fan. I'm more of a here and now kind of girl. However, something drew me to Wildthorn, and whatever that was, I'm thankful for it.
Wildthorn starts you off in the same confused state that Louisa, our protaganist, is in. She had no idea that she was being sent to an institution, let alone why there would be any reason for her to go there. Her story unfolds as she works to find the truth and, more importantly, a way out.While I had worried that I wouldn't be able to connect to Louisa in the beginning, Eagland lets Louisa's thoughts run passionately and full, so I'm able to feel her every emotion, wheter it was her thoughts of the institution or the thoughts she wracked her brain with as she tried to figure out what brought her to that wretched place.
The unfolding of the story leads to several twists and turns none of which I can really reveal without giving hints as to why Louisa's there or if she found her way out. However, I will say that this book was really an eye-opener on so many levels. One being that even when a novel isn't based in my time period, some things hold constant. The emotions that Louisa felt were easily understandable, which in turn made it so easy to get into the novel. Second, this novel opened my eyes completely to mental asylums of the past. Some of the women in the asylum simply didn't belong there, but their cries fell on deaf ears, which was heart-wrenching. This in turn showed me how far along women have had to come. They were misunderstood, treated like second-class citizens, who were to be seen and not heard. This sentiment was truly tough for Louisa, who wanted to be so much more than a doll sitting on the shelf. This book in essence, is a search for independence, physically and emotionally≥
Truly unique and something completely out of the box for me.
Some characters could have been expanded more (particularly Louisa's mom), but this being truly Louisa's story, it's excusable.
The tightness/restraint of the corset (I'm assuming it's a corset) really conveys the emotion of the book- of not being able let go, to be who you really are.
There were some moments that seemed like fillers, but overall it ended appropriately.
A truly eye-opening novel, I give Wildthorn