“Always, something would separate them. Always, they would
long for each other, call to each other across the years.”
– The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss.
This novel is noteworthy for two reasons: the unique manner in which the story is written and the ingenious way in which it is constructed (see book trailer below). The book doesn’t have a spine – it’s produced with an accordion-fold binding and can be opened and read from either direction. From one direction, the story is told from the perspective of Brendan Thorne, a doctoral student in English Literature at Oxford who works at his father’s bookstore in Cornwall during the summer. From the other direction, the story is told through the eyes of Evelyn Morgan, an American studying abroad who takes a vacation to a remote Cornwall village and fatefully meets Brendan.
The bottom line is this: the initial appeal of The Thorn and the Blossom is its unique construction but what makes this such a memorable reading experience is Goss’ poignant and deeply lyrical writing style. The fusion of contemporary romance and English folklore with the Green Man motif throughout gives this novel a dreamy feel and makes for an undeniably enchanting read – romance fans who enjoy their literary escapism flavored with myth and folklore will absolutely cherish this innovative and heartrending novel.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
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