WildthornWildthorn by Jane Eagland
digital galley provided by NetGalley
Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself - and others - in order to be set free. And love may be the key...

My take:
Louisa Cosgrove finds herself at Wildthorn Hall, a hospital -- an asylum for insane women.  She thought she was supposed to be going to stay with a family as a companion to their daughter. When she arrives at Wildthorn Hall, she is addressed as Miss Childs and the more she insists that she is Louisa Cosgrove and that there has been a mistake, the more the director and attendant are sure that she is indeed insane. Her papers have been falsified and she has no one to turn to, for she is unsure of who has betrayed her. Thus begins this fast-paced story about Louisa's experiences at Wildthorn Hall.  The reader is given snippets of events in  Louisa's life in flashback that help to fill in the missing pieces needed to figure out exactly what happened to cause her to be locked up in an asylum and to find out who was behind the plot.

Because this book won't be out until September, I don't want to give away too much about the story. This book gives a disturbing look into the way women's mental health was viewed and how dangerous it could be to refuse to go along with accepted ideas on how women should behave.  Louisa is an intelligent, curious girl who wants to do more with her life than just be a wife and mother. She wants to be a doctor like her father. She has the aptitude and the desire, but because she is female, it is just not accepted by her family or society. The story is told from Louisa's point of view and the picture given of the treatment of the women in the hospital is depressing and heart-wrenching at times.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it for high school age and up. There is very mild lesbian content.

Rating: 4 of 5


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