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The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

The Thorn and the Blossom - Theodora Goss, Scott McKowen

Like most other readers, I was drawn to this little book by the format: an accordion book with the same story from two different perspectives printed on either side of the pages, so that you can start from either direction and get a different version. How cool is that? Answer: very cool.


The story is a well-written little romance that can be read in a sitting (each story has 36 pages of text). While the structure is traditional, the author’s writing makes it feel fresh, and I was drawn into Evelyn and Brendan’s love story. But I was happier with it after finishing the first story than after reading both, because Goss fails to take advantage of the dual-perspective format other than to add more texture to the life of the current viewpoint character. Brendan’s and Evelyn’s perspectives are very similar, and there are no big surprises waiting in either story that we don’t eventually find out in the other. When I read the same story from multiple perspectives I want revelations that make me look back at the prior account with new eyes. Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith is the gold standard for that sort of story, this one not so much. This book would make a good gift idea for the romantic book nerd in your life. But while I enjoyed the first story quite a bit, the addition of a second, only slightly altered version of the same thing seemed unnecessary.