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Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Thorn and the Blossom

The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story by Theodora Goss
Grade: 3.8 stars out of 5
Published: January 17, 2012 Buy from Amazon
Source: Quirk Books
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 very short love story so my review won’t be as long as it normally would be (close to 600 words).

The first thing you’ll notice about The Thorn and the Blossom is the way the book is printed. Like an accordion. Like a really cool accordion that doesn’t make music, but rather gives you a nice story to read. I freaked out a bit when I first got it and played with the book for 5 minutes or so. Warning: don’t read book while moving or in a moving vehicle. The book kept falling out my books and the pages were falling everywhere unless I had a death grip connecting the ends together.

taken from author's blog
With the story itself I was a bit let down. It was a bit rushed for my liking and the ending felt…unfinished. If Goss had shown us rather than told us the emotions that went through Evelyn and Brendan, I could have connected better to The Thorn and the Blossom. Then again I wonder how the increase in size will impact the binding of the story. Who knows, it might just collapse or fall apart when the reader opens the first page.

The Thorn and the Blossom packs quite a lot in very little. I read Brendan’s story first followed by Evelyn.  I have to admit that the experience, which I feared would be tiring and redundant, was quite charming, new, and fascinating the second time you read it from a different POV. Those subtle nuances that were dismissed earlier or assumed to be something else, becomes more important than you first believed.

The tale of Green Knight (or Man) and the Queen was hinted just enough for the reader to keep it in the back of their thoughts while still letting the characters be themselves. Rather than Brendan being the Green Knight, Brendan is Brendan. The comparison between the two cursed lovers was laced throughout the rest the novel almost seamlessly.

Evelyn’s story is magical (mixed with an odd psychoanalysis/mental illness explanation) while Brendan’s story is saddening (he has really back luck with girls and people close to him). Together it’s a beautiful haunting tragedy that just may have that happily ever after in the end. The two characters show how to move past a love if it doesn’t work out, but there’s still the possibility of coming back.

Cover B+

P.S. Apparently if you remove the sticker/book synopsis from the back of the slip, there's a picture of the Green Man. So I carefully removed the sticker and it was not worth it. It's just his face and it's about the size of my thumb nail.


  1. Agreed-I really liked the concept but it was awkward and due to the shortness, I didn't get very much out of it :(

  2. Can I say, first off, that you often crack me up? Thank you for the post-script about the Green Man surprise. Sometimes I hate stickers on books SO MUCH (discount stickers, over the barcode, etc) - and I hate the faux-stickers that say "NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE." Grrrr...

    But I digress... This sounds interesting, although nothing too spectacular. I like retellings where the characters stand out on their own and not under the shadow of their "fairy tale" prototype. I am not sure about the accordion-type book though...

  3. This little book is really two intertwined short stories. It tells of a love affair that began in the Middle Ages and that has persisted (more or less) till the present, with the lovers being repeatedly reincarnated. It's also about each lover finding his or her true self and place in life. The modern protagonists are Evelyn Morgan and Brendan Thorne. Their stories are told separately from each point of view, in an elegant conceit that's really half the purpose of the book. The pages fold out accordion style, and you just follow the right printed surface. It's easy, although since the book has no spine, you do need to manually hold it together. After reading it, you can shelve it in its little cardboard case printed with a subdued image of rambling flowers, like a detail in a medieval tapestry.