Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Review: The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

There are two sides to every story. We know that's true in real life, particularly when we are arguing with someone, but how often do we forget its validity in fiction? Well, perhaps it is not so much that we forget it when reading a work of fiction, maybe it's just that we know it's moot to be curious about such things when it is our protagonist we should be concerned about and his/her perspective of the world. As we read our novels, we can hope that a chapter or two may be devoted to the perspective of another of the characters we have become invested in. Some authors come back to tales told in a second book and bring the audience a whole new perspective. However, never in my experience as a reader has anyone done what Theodora Goss has done in her magnificent romantic tale The Thorn and the Blossom published by Quirk Books.

The story of The Thorn and the Blossom is that of a chance meeting of Evelyn Morgan and Brendan Thorne in a village bookstore in a small town in the beautiful Cornwall, England. The two fall in love while sharing the story of a medieval romance that happened in that very town. It seems, however,  as the story unfolds that Evelyn and Brendan may be doomed to the same fate of the cursed lovers in the tale. It is equally romantic, heart-breaking and mysterious, but above all is its unique delivery.

In The Thorn and the Blossom you get exactly what you ever wanted from every romance novel novel you've ever read; you get to answer that itching question, "What was he/she thinking?" when the romantic interest didn't reciprocate in the way you thought made sense, or when he/she lashed out in a way that seemed out of character. You can do this because once you have finished reading the story, in other words, once you reach "The End," you will find that you are actually right back at the beginning of the story, from the other protagonist's perspective. This book does not only tell two sides of of a story[ it physically embodies it. The book is in an accordion-fold binding, so that the story can be stretched out from end to end with Evelyn's story on one side and Brendan's etched on the other! I feel this is something best seen, than described, so I am happy to say that there is a book trailer that gives you a brief glimpse of this beautiful artifact:



First of all, the story within is engaging, and, after reading both tales there is a sense of greater understanding that may have been lost with merely one side of this story. This is a well-crafted story and I love it for that. However, before I even read it, I knew I must have it. The idea is just so artistically complete - "A Two-Sided Love Story" both in telling and in presentation. Beautiful! A book-lovers must-own, as far as I am concerned.

What was the last beautiful book you purchased (or was purchased for you)?
Are you a fan of two-sided stories, or do you prefer to have your own interpretation of the "missing" side to the stories you read?
If there were any one part of your life that you wish could be written as a two-sided story just like this one, what would it be and who would be on the other side? 
***READERS OF The Thorn and the Blossom!! Whose story did you read first?*** 




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