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…
This book is a blatant case of a novel not getting the publicity it deserves and I hope to rectify that even if only by the smallest of margins. Wildthorn uses Victorian England as a backdrop to explore and criticize sexist attitudes which, sadly, still exist in the world today. And while it is a queer novel, the queerness is more incidental to the story than it is the primary focus. But primary focus or not, it’s heartwarming all the same. At the heart of the story is a young girl who’s fighting against a repressive society for her dream of being a doctor.
Take my word, if you’re looking for a gripping, well-researched, and well-written feminist novel with interesting characters, you need Wildthorn in your life.
Trigger warnings: depictions of sexist attitudes, mental illness, and abuse of mentally ill people.