Louisa Cosgrove, a 17 year old from a prominent family, believes she is on her way to be the companion to a rich friend of the family doctor. Already not happy about the arrangements, she is incredibly upset to find herself at an asylum, where a mistake has obviously been made about her identity. She is continuously referred to as "Lucy Childs" and stripped of her belongings, clothing, and dignity. Her privacy is taken away completely, she is locked up, and continuously bullied by one of the nurses on her floor.
Louisa knows she must find a way out and back to her family, who must be frantic about where she's ended up, but she doesn't know who to trust inside the asylum, including herself at times. She thinks she's sure about who she is, but with everyone else seeming to know a different identity, Louisa isn't quite sure what to believe anymore, leading her to question decisions she would usually have no trouble making.
Jan Eagland has a great knack for description, detail, and fluid writing. I was drawn in from the first page and found the entire story creepy and lovely at the same time. Hard to do, I'm sure! I really liked the idea of not knowing if we were following Louisa Cosgrove or Lucy Childs until quite a ways into the story as well as the dark and somewhat ominious mood set by the entire book.
Wildthorn is a unique and very well-written story with an engaging main character, but also a look into what 19th century England was like for women. Wanting to be studious or taking a different path in decisions typically assumed was deemed strange by society and those themes tie in nicely with the creepy factor.
Really enjoyed this one!
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Review copy received from publisher