Wildthorn Hall, where cruelty and madness meet...
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: labelled 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 . . .
I was first drawn to this book by the striking but pretty cover when searching on Amazon and when I found out that it was set in the Victorian times (my favourite historical period), I couldn't wait to read it. I wasn't disappointed and was soon gripped by the story of Louisa as she is unsuspectingly locked away in a mental asylum. Here is my summary:
Now re- named Lucy Childs in the mad-house, Louisa must do everything she can to keep her wits about her throughout the terrifying pain of having everything from her previous life stripped from her. With seemingly no one and nothing in her life, she must solve the mystery of who had her locked up and try to free herself. However, she soon learns that she must also free her mind to discover her true self and keep hold of her dream career even when prejudiced Victorian society has everything against her.
This book is definitely a page turner with lots of suspense that will keep you reading into the night. As the book is written in the first person, you really feel the horrendous ordeals that Louisa went through and the injustice that she felt. This is helped by the detailed and clear description of what life was like in a Victorian mental asylum and also other issues in the book such as mental health problems, unconventional love and equality for woman. Jane Eagland's accessible flowing writing style that lets the character's emotions shine through makes these issues in the book still relevant in today's world but also keeping the Victorian atmosphere.
I look forward to Jane Eagland's next novel!
I would recommend this debut novel to all lovers of the YA and historical fiction genres for a emotional and thought provoking read.