Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
September 6, 2010
Louisa Cosgrove is not your typical Victorian girl. As a child she pushed the boundaries, loved science and dissecting things and was not at all a girly-girl. Now as a teen, she wants to be a doctor like her father, who educated her himself, much to the dismay of her mother and hates going on social calls with her mother.
Now, at the age of seventeen, she's on her way to be the companion to the sister of her brother's friend. Or so she thinks. When her carriage arrives, she finds herself at Wildthorn Hall, an insane asylum. Getting no assistance from her chaperone, Louisa is turned over to the staff at Wildthorn who insist that her name is Lucy Childs. The more she claims the be Louisa Cosgrove and not insane, the worse things get.
Stuck in a Victorian mental hospital, Louisa (or Lucy) knows she doesn't belong and has to get out.
If you can imagine a sort of Girl Interrupted (which I'll admit I haven't seen in a long, long time) and meets Rebel Angels (you'll remember that Bethlem Royal Hospital [Bedlam], played an itty part in that book), then you'll have an idea of why Wildthorn was so amazing.
Wildthorni was told in flashbacks of the main character's life that gradually met up with the present, allowing you to get to know her both in the present and the past at the same time. Learning so much about Louisa while reading about her being 'Lucy' in an insane asylum and the back and forth really did make me wonder at times whether she was legitimately insane or put there to make someone's life easier. It made reading the novel very suspenseful and enjoyable.
The other characters added to the suspense (and questioning of her true sanity). There were women in Wildthorn that were actually insane, but others that were admitted for reasons that would have been used in Victorian times. It not only made the story more enjoyable, but more believable, too. It also made me really happy to live in a place and time where I can be praised for wanting to learn, learn, learn as a girl.
I was fully engrossed in Louisa's story as she told it and couldn't wait to see how things would end for her (and if she had been slanting things). Sincerely looking forward to more from Jane Eagland
(read thanks to NetGalley)