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Wildthorn Paperback – Unabridged, 6 Mar 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)

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Product Description

Book Description

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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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Don't start reading this book if you have a bunch of important things to do. You won't get them done till you've read whole book.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Louisa Cosgrove's trial and tribulations as she struggles to find out why she has been sent to Wildthorn make for a great read, I read the book in one sitting on a very long plane journey and was captivated until the end.

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!
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Format: Paperback
Reading Wildthorn has made me so grateful I was born in the 20th Century and not the 19th! I read the book in one sitting, and apparently even that could have got me into trouble as a woman in Victorian England.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Louisa Cosgrove is on her way to be a companion to the daughter of the Woodville family. However, when she arrives, Louisa is shocked to discover that she isn't at the Woodvilles', but at Wildthorn, an asylum for the mentally insane. Believing her to be a Lucy Childs, she is admitted to the asylum and locked in despite putting up a fight. The more she insists she is Louisa Cosgrove, the more the attendants believe she is mad. Determined to find out who is behind her treachery, Louisa fights to never lose sight trying to get out. At every corner she discovers just how deeply the betrayal goes, and just how difficult it will be to escape her ill treatment. There is only one person at Wildthorn she trusts, the only person who may be her way to freedom.

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.
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To start with, it took me a while to get into this book and because of this I was a little hesitant to continue reading. However, I am very glad I did continue, as this book was a truly great read in the end.

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.
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