- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Young Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (6 Mar. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330458167
- ISBN-13: 978-0330458160
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Wildthorn Paperback – Unabridged, 6 Mar 2009
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More About the Author
Dark secrets and deep betrayals haunt this extraordinary debut set in a Victorian madhouse
About the Author
Born in Essex, Jane Eagland taught English in secondary schools for many years. After doing an MA in creative writing, she now divides her time between writing and tutoring. Wildthorn is her first novel, inpsired by true stories of women who were incarcerated in asylums in the nineteenth century. Jane lives in Lancashire, in a house with a view of the fells.
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Top Customer Reviews
The promise of feminist overtones against the backdrop of Victorian England, and a mental asylum, was what peaked my interest. I studied a little of the treatment of Victorian mental patients in Psychology but to read a book concerning the main character's unjust incarceration in an asylum was horrific. The hatred I felt for the characters responsible for the cruelty at the asylum, and for the ones responsible for sending Louisa to the asylum was scarily real. The unfairness of her situation had me so riled, I had to quickly read the end of the book to see if she had a happy ending (which I've never done before).
The story is relentlessly gripping, with the narrative switching between the present, where Louisa is at the asylum, and the past, where we are shown the events that led up to her incarceration. The author's prose was pleasant enough to read, though it is the plot and its characters that drive the novel and distract from anything else. It was not predictable; at first, I thought I had easily sussed out the person responsible for putting Louisa in the asylum, but I turned out to be wrong.
I recommend this book to all teenage girls, and to those who are older. A brilliant historical fiction.
I have to agree with Dr Wynn and disagree with Fizz, there were enough twists to keep me guessing until the end, I had no idea as to the identity of Louise's captor until the final stages of the book, and the suspense as you wait to see if she will make her escape kept me on the edge of my seat.
For a first novel this one speaks volumes of the things to come from Eaglands future works, I wait with bated breath for the next!
I originally bought this book for my teenage niece, but have been unable to resist reading it first, partly to check the asylum scenes were not too scary, but mainly because I found it impossible to put down. I found Louisa's experiences of betrayal and incarceration an eye-opening window on the restrictions of Victorian society, and also enjoyed the book as a cracking mystery. I have now passed it on to my niece now, as I'm sure she will also enjoy it.
This isn't an LGBTQ story in that Louisa's sexuality doesn't play a hugely important role. Ths focus is on her incarceration at Wildthorn, why she's there, and how she's ever going to get out. The treatement of the residents is atrocious. There are some attendants who are nice or those that don't really care and so will let the residents do as they wish, but there are others who are so vindictive, so cruel, and take great pleasure from it. It's just awful!
Set in 1876, there are quite a few views about the role of women and how they should be living their lives, and a lot of this is shown through Louisa's flashbacks. There were so many times when opinions of many of the men, and even some of the women too, in the book - that women should stay at home, raising babies and looking after their husbands - really wound me up. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against women who are stay-at-home mums/housewives - it's something I would like to do myself if I'm able - but we have the choice to either stay at home or work.Read more ›
The story is set in the 19th century and starts when our protagonist, Louisa, is sent to an insane asylum. Louisa has no idea why she has been sent there, or who has sent her, and she spends a good length of the book trying to figure these things out. She knows that she is not insane, however it's up to the reader if they believe her or not.
The narrative takes us from the present day, back to the past to Louisa's childhood, and there we learn about how she has always wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and become a doctor. A female doctor was not seen as acceptable in Louisa's time and as we read various 'flashbacks' we see how Louisa struggles with being different to most girls, and not living up to her mother's expectations of her.
I thought that the plot was well thought out, and there were even a couple of twists, which I am not used to in a historical novel. I was very interested in the asylum and the culture of 19th century England, and Eagland managed to keep me intrigued throughout the novel. She painted a perfect picture of the era and some of the descriptions were so vivid I had to stop reading for a moment to take it all in.
The character of Louisa was very likable, and I felt able to connect with her easily. I felt so sorry for her being locked up in the asylum for no apparent reason, but she was strong and that is what gave me hope.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. As Jane Eagland's first book, I think she did a phenomenal job with it, and I will certainly be reading more of her works in the future.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Highly recommended, a brilliant story that is unpredictable and will leave you always wanting to read on, I definitely recommend it.Published 4 months ago by Anon
If you like Lesbian Historical Fiction then you will enjoy this a lot. Just a couple of points to make. Read morePublished 5 months ago by LovelyLabrys
Review: Louisa Cosgrove is on her way to live with a family her brother knows-or so she thinks. But when the carriage pulls up at a building too imposing to be a home, she is told... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Nina (Death, Books, and Tea)
It is an incredible read full of betrayal, broken dreams, unrequited love and madness. I would recommend this to a friend. In fact I already have.Published on 19 Jan. 2014 by Hannah Whitwell
I was surprised by the quality of the writing and the pull of the story. I would have read it in one sitting if I could. Read morePublished on 13 Mar. 2013 by Sph
A good read - this gives a terrifying insight into society's attitude towards women in the not-too-distant past. Good book club reading material.Published on 15 Nov. 2012 by A. Midwinter
I don't read much historical fiction but the premise of this novel intrigued me. People in Victorian mental asylum's were treated cruelly and inhumanly which is about all I know on... Read morePublished on 3 Aug. 2012 by Kay
This book has been on my wish list for so long, I only wish I had gotten round to reading it sooner. I loved it! I really couldnt put it down and got through it very quickly. Read morePublished on 3 Jan. 2012 by KarenCad
Louisa Cosgrove is a 17 year old girl living in the Victorian era. She comes from a respectful family and has been brought up to be a lady. Read morePublished on 30 July 2011 by B. Savage