Author: Theodora Goss
Genre: Adult, Romance
Release Date: January 2012
Summary: One enchanting romance. Two lovers keeping secrets. And a uniquely crafted book that binds their stories forever.
When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself . . .
The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable literary artifact: You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning.
☆: 4/5 – a lovely novelty of a story!
Review: A short review, but considering how short the book is, there’s not much for me to pontificate on about.
This is a very charming story. The novelty of it having both POVs – essentially, both sides to the story in a literally two-sided book – really brought more mystery and magic to the whole thing. I’m a sucker for pretty packaging, but this was also very practical. “The Thorn and the Blossom” is a story filled with lots of questions and few answers – but a satisfying conclusion nonetheless.
I think my overall gripe about the book was that it was just too short – even when you combined both “sides” of the book, it ended up being more of a novella or a novelette. I was kind of hoping it would be longer, and I wanted more of the story. There were a lot of implications – are Evelyn and Brendan reincarnations of Elowen and Gawain? Is Evelyn schizophrenic or does she really have the Second Sight? There are mysteries upon mysteries layered here in such a short amount of pages, and I’m impressed with Goss for being able to do all of that in so little space.
We also don’t get any solid answers on these implications, but we do get a happily ever after, more or less. It reminded me a lot of the end of Francesca Lia Block’s “Violet and Claire” – it’s kind of a cliffhanger but at the same time, it’s not, and both are standalones. There’s a lot of magical reality that flows though Goss’s prose, and it was so pleasant to read that it was over before I really knew it, and I’d already gotten comfortable within the world. The world itself is well-built and I felt very steady in it. The characters were very full, even in such sparse space and prose. It was a treat overall to read, and I just kind of want a longer version of it now.
Final verdict? Give it a read. It’s lovely. It’s a nice change from a lot of what’s being published right now. “The Thorn and The Blossom” is out now via Quirk Books, so be sure to go and check it out. I know I really enjoyed it, so I hope all of you guys do, too!