Jan 31, 2012

Review | The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

Title: The Thorn and the Blossom
Author: Theodora Goss
Series: None
Publication: 01.17.2012 by Quirk Books
Source: Publisher
Challenges: None

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.
Thoughts: This book was short and sweet, just like it sounds. The unique format is what intrigued me at first, and since I like anything with a love story, I was really looking forward to see what this would be like. Like mentioned, this is a two-sided love story which I thought was great because we got both sides of the story. How often does that happen? I started with Evelyn's side because I felt I would connect with the female character easier (obviously) and I am glad I did.

Evelyn decides to take a week off from school to "find herself" and ends up in the small town of Cornwall, where she meets Brendan Thorne. Instantly, they hit it off and spend every day together. An unexpected event causes Evelyn to flee though, leaving Brendan behind with just the memory of what they shared. Later in the book they meet again and even though it feels like there might be a happy ending, the author leaves it up to your imagination to figure out where the rest of the story goes.

Reading Evelyn's account left me feeling unsatisfied and I was really disappointed there wasn't more to the story. But there was! I waited about a day or so before flipping over to Brendan's side of the story. While reading his side, there were a few things that started making that hadn't before and other small details that changed the story a bit. The Tale of the Green Knight, a story that Brendan shares with Evelyn when they first meet, plays an important role throughout the book. It not only shapes the their careers in the story, but as a reader, you can't help but wonder if like the summary says: "...if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself ."

The only problem I had with this was that I wish it would've been longer! It was too short I think, and even though it was a great story, I think it could've been developed just a little more by adding a few more pages. I thought the author did a great job though, in intertwining the tale and the lives of Brendan and Evelyn, piecing everything together beautifully. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a short fairytale to quickly dive into.

About the author:

Theodora Goss's publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; and Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems. She has been finalist for the Nebula Award, Crawford Award, and Mythopoeic Award, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards.
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Buy the book: Amazon


  1. This book sounds incredibly intriguing! And I'm pretty excited about the fact that it has that unique two-person perspective. I'm definitely checking this one out.

  2. Ooh this sounds pretty neat! I have seen this cover before but it's the first review I read on it. I love the sounds of the 2 sided story that's really different. I'm definitely adding this to my radar! Great review!

  3. I love when authors take creative approaches to telling their stories - especially when it works well. And it seems to work well in this case. I'll definitely keep an eye out for this one!