Author: Jane Eagland
Genre: YA Historical
Rating: * * * 1/2
Publishers Date: September 6, 2010
Hardback: 352 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
FTC Disclosure: e-copy from Net Galley
They strip her naked, of everything-undo her whalebone corset, hook by hook. Locked away in Wildthorn Hall—a madhouse—they take her identity. She is now called Lucy Childs. She has no one; she has nothing. But, she is still seventeen-still Louisa Cosgrove, isn't she? Who has done this unthinkable deed? Louisa must free herself, in more ways than one, and muster up the courage to be her true self, all the while solving her own twisted mystery and falling into an unconventional love . . .Louisa knows that she is different from most girls in that she doesn’t want to get married or have kids. Her dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor, something almost unheard of in this time. Luckily her intelligence and knowledge of medicine is the only thing that keeps her from becoming a fixture at the asylum, Wildthorn. The storyline moved along at a satisfying pace and the incredible uncompassionate treatment of mental patients was shockingly horrible. Though a YA book, I think it more suited to older teens rather than the early teens.
I do so love historical fiction and this one broached a subject I know I’ve never read in a book before, the treatment of women in mental institutions in the Victorian era. The author had a great feel for the Victorian era and especially for the plight of women. There was also a big mystery as to why Louisa was sent there to begin with. While this wasn’t a great read, I did enjoy it. Would I tell everyone to rush out and get a copy, probably not but I didn’t feel that my time was wasted reading it either. While there was a subject matter addressed (and I can’t say what because I don’t want to spoil it for you) in an attempt to make the storyline different, I don’t really think it added a whole lot. This issue was only slightly resolved and would have made little difference if left out (unless there will be another book). The romance is very low keyed and I’d consider this book more of a historical fiction that romance.