By Jane Eagland
Publish Date: September 6, 2010
Publisher: Houghton MifflinBooks
Challenge Met: 2012 TBR
The carriage jolts and splashes along the rutted lanes by the heavy November rains.
On her journey to what she thinks is to become a companion, Louisa Cosgrove finds herself at the front doors of Wildthorn Hall, an insane asylum. Not knowing why these people are calling her Lucy Childs, Louisa finds herself fighting to stay sane. The reader is taken from past to present narrated by Louisa, so that we understand in tidbits of maybe why she is in this situation. Is it because she wanted to follow in her deceased father’s footsteps and become a doctor or did her cousin tell someone about the “incident” that happened between them? Or is she truly insane? Louisa develops a friendship with Eliza, one of the attendants at Wildthorn and because of this friendship finds the answers that she is looking for.
What a roller coaster ride this book was! I loved the air of mystery that surrounded the entire reason that Louisa was in the asylum to begin with. Until it is revealed of who put her in and why, the reader is constantly speculating. Wildthorn accurately portrays how easy it was for young woman who didn’t want to conform to what was the standard for woman could be sent to an insane asylum. I thought Louisa’s character was very strong and the author hints ambiguously of another reason why Louisa is not like other woman. Very well written and would recommend this to all young adult historical fiction readers with only a bit of caution due to some mature subject matters that are addressed.