November 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm Leave a comment

My mind is a pocket with a hole in the bottom – everything I used to know has fallen out.”

Louisa Cosgrove has been betrayed.  The carriage carrying her to her new position as a paid companion has instead left her at Wildthorn Hall, an asylum for the insane.  They call her Lucy Childs, but that’s not her name!  This must be a terrible mistake!  But once the doors of Wildthorn shut behind her, there is nothing she can do to change the doctors’ minds.  No one believes a girl they think is crazy.

Someone had to sign her commitment papers, but who?  Her mother, who had always wished Louisa were more proper and obedient?  Her brother Tom, who had never supported Louisa’s dream to be a doctor?  Or was it someone she couldn’t even imagine?   

 My Review: The mystery of who sent Louisa to Wildthorn and why kept me racing through the pages of the book.  Louisa’s memories are sprinkled throughout the first half, and some of those memories infuriated me!  It was hard for me to keep my 21st century ideals of women’s rights from influencing the way I read a book that takes place in the late 19th century.  

The everyday humiliations and degradations Louisa suffers made the asylum so real, and all the more painful when contrasted with Louisa’s past happiness studying medicine with her father.  It was heartbreaking to see how the asylum at times seemed to steal away the very things Louisa HAD TO hold on to: her sanity and her will to fight to free herself.   

But despite that, the glimmers of happiness she feels when she tries to help the other patients, or when she talks to her only friend – and maybe more – Eliza, made me feel that no matter how the asylum attendents tried to break her, she would find a way to keep her humanity even in the face of such injustice.  

If you like mysteries, historical fiction, a touch of romance, and want a surprising ending (it was a shock to find out whose treachery sent her to Wildthorn!) give this book a try.  Wildthorn by Jane Eagland is now available at the library.  Also, check out the author’s website.




Entry filed under: book reviews, NaBloPoMo10, new books.

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