Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wildthorn - Jane Eagland

Title: Wildthorn
Author: Jane Eagland

Genre: Fiction (Young Adult/Historical)

Love/Hate?: Quite enjoyed it!
Rating: 4/5
Did I finish?: Yes
One-sentence summary: Independent-minded young woman is punished for her aspirations and suffers cruelly at an asylum while she struggles to discover who committed her and why.

Why did I get this book?: Historical novel with a lovely cover. (Superficial, I know, but that's the truth.)
Source: NetGalley
Challenges: Historical Fiction

Do you like the cover?: Very -- the corset imagery perfectly captures the era of the book and the crushing, restrictive feel of Louisa's experiences at Wildthorn!

First line from book: The carriage jolts and splashes along the rutted lanes flooded by the heavy November rains.

Did... I feel like I might be going a bit mad, along with Louisa?: YES. Like Dracula in Love, I found the historically accurate description of Wildthorn to be chilling.

Did... I totally melt over the unexpectedly sweet romance?: YES. It felt a bit like restitution for the suffering Louisa experienced.

Did... I find the ePub file provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to be nearly unreadable?: YES. I'm not including that in my rating, but I've mentioned in my review because it hindered my ability to enjoy reading this book.

Review: This is the kind of book that makes you feel as if you're a little mad yourself. In the best way. Told in four parts, the story opens with Louisa's arrival at Wildthorn, where she's committed under the name of Lucy. Her confusion is our confusion but through flashbacks, we slowly start to learn what might have lead to this horrible event.

The treachery surrounding Louisa's commitment is grim enough but I found Eagland's descriptions of life in the asylum and it's various 'wards' (levels of hell, in some ways) to be the most frightening part of the story. How she survives is a miracle -- and happily, the story doesn't end there. Louisa begins to repair herself and finds an unexpected and rather sweet romance. Eventually, the cause and agents of her commitment to are revealed -- and while the plot is nefarious, in some ways, it's very mundane, and again, the stark reality of what could happen to a young woman in Victorian England is what makes the story so chilling. A quick, enjoyable read.

Technical Review: I have a Sony eReader; I don't have vision problems. The default font size on this file was, frankly, microscopic. Had I purchased the file I would be very unhappy. Magnification didn't help: it went from joke big to ridiculous huge. As a result, I could only stand to read in small bursts which was particularly inconvenient considering the delicious tension Eagland created. I hope the version of this that goes on sale has better sizing.


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  2. Yay! I got this myself through NetGalley and now I'm even more excited about it. Though, hopefully it'll be readable in Adobe Digital Editions because that's all I have.

    Great review!

  3. Teresa -- I did find it easier to read on my computer screen and in fact, was able to see the changes in fonts to designate flashback from the present time. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Just hopping by to say hello! I am following and can’t wait to read more from your blog. Here is my blog

  5. Ah, sorry you had such a problem with the text! I still haven't tried any ebooks, but it's something I'll be looking into over the past few months,

    Anyway, I'm pretty excited to read this book, thanks for reviewing! I found your blog through FF - I'm a new follower :)

    If you get a chance, check out my blog.

    Have a great weekend!

  6. Heather, Bradi Leigh, and Tara -- Thanks so much for the nice words and the follow -- I'm hoping over to your blogs now! :)

  7. Great cover! I will have to read this soon!