The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss is an unusual book! I think Quirk Books is a publisher that really tries to play with different formats and other things with their books, and it is no expection with this title. What initially grabbed me about The Thorn and the Blossom is this very unique accordian-style format that allows the two stories to be told - the first from the front and the second from the back. It's all a little bit different and I was intrigued.
It isn't a very long story, either one of them, and it's quite a simple tale. It's the story of two people, Evelyn and Brendan, as they meet one day in a Cornish village. They spend a week together, exploring their surroundings and getting to know each other. And within that one small week, Evelyn's life is changed as she continues to research and base her career on this ancient story that is told to her about two lovers cursed to be apart for a thousand years.
There's this sense that perhaps Evelyn and Brendan could be recreating this timeless love story, or is it just coincidence? You'll have to read it in order to find out! I really enjoy books that contain elements of other stories to them. It was fun to imagine these two characters taking on the roles of this ancient love story, but to also discover other secrets and unexpected twists within their two stories.
I read Evelyn's story first. I really thought this book would be rather straightforward in the type of love story that it is, but I was surprised at the addition of some rather magical elements but also the serious issue of how some of Evelyn's fantastical visions are viewed by doctors and the like in these modern times. I think I preferred Brendan's story as the ending felt very hopeful. Both stories so different though, in terms of perspective, that I really felt like re-reading both sets again once I'd finished.
My only issue with this book is that it covers a very long amount of time in the lives of both characters and I'd perhaps have liked a bit more to both stories. As two short stories about love, it was both different to what I'd normally read and also pretty enjoyable if a little bit short.