Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Book Review - Blue Asylum
They say madness is a double-edged sword. It can cause you great misunderstanding, institutionalization, and even physical torture. But it’s so handy when you fall in love.
Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Virginia plantation wife Iris Dunleavy is put on trial and convicted of madness. It is the only reasonable explanation the court can see for her willful behavior, so she is sent away to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good, compliant woman. Iris knows, though, that her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing with him on notions of justice, cruelty, and property.
On this remote Florida island, cut off by swamps and seas and military blockades, Iris meets a wonderful collection of residents—some seemingly sane, some wrongly convinced they are crazy, some charmingly odd, some dangerously unstable. Which of these is Ambrose Weller, the war-haunted Confederate soldier whose memories terrorize him into wild fits that can only be calmed by the color blue, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris.
The institution calls itself modern, but Iris is skeptical of its methods, particularly the dreaded “water treatment.” She must escape, but she has found new hope and love with Ambrose. Can she take him with her? If they make it out, will the war have left anything for them to make a life from, back home?
Blue Asylum is a vibrant, beautifully-imagined, absorbing story of the lines we all cross between sanity and madness. It is also the tale of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the undeniable call of freedom.
My Take on the Book
I have never read any of this authors books in the past, but I can say with this book that the plot was quite engaging and gripping. You start reading and are kept from page one to the very end. The author does a good job at developing her characters and making you truly imagine and picture the desolate remote island where the story is set. The Asylum where the main character was sent is vastly different than what you normally expect, but saying that, the author makes the venue come alive and the relationships between the characters tangible. This was a great book that all should read!
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