by Jane Eagland
Louisa Cosgrove wants to follow in her father’s footsteps. He is a doctor and has always encouraged Louisa to be curious about her world. So curious that she once took it upon herself to surgically remove her doll’s arms and legs to see how she was put together. For a girl growing up in the Victorian era, this is not appropriate behaviour. Her mother wants nothing more than to have Louisa become a proper woman. Apparently someone else is unhappy with Louisa, and the carriage she believes is taking her to a new home has actually been instructed to deliver her to an insane asylum. Once there, the administrators and staff all start referring to her as Lucy Childs. She insists that it has all been a misunderstanding, but her protests are only considered evidence of her madness.
This book was extremely frustrating to read, not because of the first-person present tense narration style, but because everything was so unjust! I thought it was really predictable, but a lot of the things I predicted didn’t actually happen. There’s a bit of a convenient romance that I thought was just a little too neat and a lot too boring, but overall I enjoyed reading it. The story starts with Louisa’s committal and then some chapters look back at events over the years that led to her present state.
A dark, Victorian read, with some lesbian bits, but definitely not just for those looking for a queer story.