Wildthorn was inspired by a true story I came across in a book called Against Therapy by Jeffrey Masson. I learned that Hersilie Rouy, a nineteenth century French woman, was incarcerated in asylums for fifteen years despite the fact that she was sane. She was deprived of her true identity and the more she protested about this and about her treatment, the more this was taken as evidence of her insanity.
How terrible, I thought. And then, What must it have been like for her?
The injustice of what happened to Hersilie appealed to something deep in me and directly inspired my depiction of Louisa.
I’ve always been interested in and moved by stories of psychiatric patients, those who perhaps did need help, but often weren’t treated in helpful ways. My own mother was diagnosed as a ‘manic depressive’ as it was called then and spent years in and out of hospitals eventually lapsing into a state of depression.
I think part of my motivation in writing Wildthorn was to give voice to all those poor lost people down the years who couldn’t speak for themselves. I’ve tried to do this through the other inmates, especially Beatrice.
The asylum is a dark place and what Louisa experiences there is frightening. But despite the secret that threatens to undermine her confidence, she has courage. I hope you enjoy accompanying her on her journey as she struggles to face up to the truth about herself and at the same time tries to unravel the mystery that lies behind her imprisonment.
If you’d like to make a comment about the book, please do.
“A bold and thrilling read”
Amanda Craig, The Times
“A thought-provoking and shocking story for teenagers and adults”
“A thrilling adventure in Victorian intrigue”
The Daily Mail
“Jane Eagland’s thrilling novel Wildthorn will have you reeling from the treachery and basking in the romance”
“I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”
“How I can properly describe the amazingness of this fantastic book.”
“Read this if you want an amazing story.”
“So dramatic and moving it brought me to tears.”
“The mystery of who sent Louisa to Wildthorn and why kept me racing through the pages of the book.”