Author: Theodora Goss
Format: Slip-cased Hardcover, 82 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books (January 17, 2012)
Genre: Romance / Fantasy
Review Copy: Provided by Publisher
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.
The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable book both for its physical structure and the story within. It comes in a slip-case with a beautiful floral illustration by Scott McKowen. The book itself is an accordion-fold book - the pages are folded much like an accordion bellows and can fold out into one long banner (so don't drop the book). The story is printed on both sides of the pages. One side is Evelyn's account, the other is Brendan's. I chose to start from Evelyn's side of the book and am still wondering if that has influenced my view of the events that unfold.
The Thorn and the Blossom is a very quick read weighing in at only 82 pages, but it really is amazing how much Theodora Goss packs into those pages. The story spans many years of Evelyn's and Brendan's lives. We see them as university students meeting for the first time in a Cornish village, then as college professors of medieval studies. We learn about their childhoods. Central to the story unfolding for Evelyn and Brendan is a Green Man myth presented for the purposes of The Thorn and the Blossom as a Cornish legend of Gawan (from King Arthur's Court) and Elowen (a Cornish queen). This legend infuses the story with a wonderful dreamlike quality as it interweaves with Evelyn's and Brendan's romance.
The Thorn and the Blossom is beautifully written, enchanting and gorgeous inside and out. I suggest that you pick up the printed copy of this book to appreciate how special it is.
I give The Thorn and the Blossom 5 Qwills.