Review: The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

Please take note that this title is an adult book, but there isn’t anything offensive that will bother the average YA reader.

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.

I will admit, what initially drew me to this book was the two-sided story aspect. It doesn’t have a traditional bind, instead it’s similar to an accordion. Then when I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read it. Bookstores? Potential cursed lovers?

Each side is told from the point of view of the lovers. I started with Evelyn’s, because I had heard it was written first. It felt like a good starting point, I was completely drawn into the story. Going into Evelyn’s side, you meet Brendan. He’s just this small-town (well, village) bookstore owner’s son. Evelyn’s in town for a week, so what will really happen? I won’t get into Evelyn’s “problems”, but in reading Evelyn’s side first you learn of them right away. From Brendan’s side, you don’t know what Evelyn’s ‘deal’ is. Why she’s so mysterious, but you also learn more about Brendan and just who he is. There isn’t really a right or wrong side to choose from, in my opinion. (For a review of someone who started with Brendan’s side, read April’s review at My Shelf Confessions.)

I was captivated by the story, but I think it would’ve been more beneficial to the story if it had been longer. It’s only 80-something pages total, counting both stories. There were so many unanswered questions left for me. I would have liked to known a bit more about Evelyn’s mysterious problems and about the past stories in the book.

As for the format: let me just say – it’s hard to read. It’s different, but there is no bind. I ended up just sitting it on my bed and reading it sitting up and looking down at it. There are ways to “hold” it to make it less awkward, but I just couldn’t manage it. Not a big deal, and not a review point, but something to think about!

The Thorn and the Blossom is entertaining, but I wouldn’t classify it as a “must-read” book. If you are seeking a sweet romance book, definitely consider it though!

Word of caution: There is one sex scene, it doesn’t go into much detail at all and is pretty short but it is there. If this bugs you, take caution.

I received my copy of The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love … from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.


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  1. Jennifer says:

    This is a lovely and IMHO very on-target review, I read it recently as well and agree with you on all counts, you have captured it wonderfully.

  2. Megan says:

    Hmm. That sounds like a difficult format to read from. I wonder why they didn’t just make one half of the book upsidedown and backwards, so you have to flip and read it the other way?

  3. Melissa says:

    Hmmm…sounds like a sweet but challenging read! lol

  4. Bext says:

    I want to read this! I’m so curious about the two stories in one kinda things. But I wish it was longer. ;o It sounds so… short! Still want it though. *nods*

  5. I agree with your review! I was personally glad I started with Brendan’s story first since I think Evelyn’s behavior was more mysterious from his point of view and it kept me wondering the whole time I was reading her part how it would be explained. Definitely agree on the format, it would’ve been better – although less original – if they’d gone with a regular flipside book. The covers and the box it comes in are gorgeous though, have to admit that :D

    Thanks again for linking my review :D

    <33 April

  6. jillian says:

    oohhh this one looks lovely!!

  7. I started with Evelyn’s story too and I really liked it but I wanted more! 80 pages is really not enough.


  1. […] out a review from Amanda @ Letter’s Inside Out who read Evelyn’s story […]

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