Monday, December 13, 2010

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Before woman's lib, it was believed that a fulfilled woman was a married woman, mother, and socially involved or involved with church causes. There was no place for single women, especially not those who wanted to be doctors or other professionals. Such a woman might be sent to do service with a family, sent to a convent or even sent to an asylum for the mentally ill as happened to Louisa if they in some way became inconvenient to the family.
Louisa always preferred studying science, riding horses and hanging with her father to "appropriate" womanly pursuits. With her father's support she had been studying for the entrance exams for the newly opened women's college. But her father died. Her beloved cousin for whom she had surprised feelings beyond that which was customary was marrying as a good girl should. Suddenly Louisa was in the way. She is told she is going to a family to be a governess but winds up in Wildthorn. Its an asylum of the worst kind with abusive attendants, bad food, nothing to occupy a person's mind, and no escape unless the person's who wanted Louisa out of the way decided to sign her release papers. Louisa's struggles at the asylum, how she escapes, how she learns about the conspiracy that put her there and her blossoming romance with one kind attendant makes for a fast riveting read. Its part historical fiction, part homosexual romance and part women's lib. This story will make all of us females glad to be living in the twentieth century. jdw 12/13/10

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