**spoiler alert** Iris Dunleavy is commited to Sanibel islands asylum by her husband after comitting some kind of UNSPEAKABLE ACTION wholly unfitting**spoiler alert** Iris Dunleavy is commited to Sanibel islands asylum by her husband after comitting some kind of UNSPEAKABLE ACTION wholly unfitting an obedient wife in the Victorian era.
The thing she did is only hinted but ultimately revealed to be her having (view spoiler)[having married a plantation owner and slave owner to boot,and not being able to countenance his cruel behavior to them tried to help them escape. It didnt go well as you can imagine (hide spoiler)]
When she arrives at island wich is a tropical paradise she tries in vain to appeal to the common sense of the staff. But their minds are made up. She is unhinged and her refusal to admit this fact is hindering her from becoming well again.
Its an impossible situation.
While at the asylum she meets a range of character from the self righteous asylums doctor,his young son who mourns the inmate girl who was his friend(she comitted suicide),the doctors wife who resents being shut off on the island and the other sane and not so sane inhabitants at the asylum.
And she also meets Ambrose Weller a young (ish?) former confederate soldier who is prone to fits after experiencing the war. To calm himself down the doctor has ordered him to think of the color blue,wich the doctor believes is a calming hue.
Ambrose and Iris strikes up a friendship wich is strongly discouraged since Iris is still a married woman and for two inmates at an asylum its considered detrimental to recovery to get overly attached.
Then it gets complicated when the characters get more and more involved with each other and tangled up in their emotions.
Wich was the point where i started to skim this book.
The narrative was very confusing and jarring at times as it shifts between at least 5 characters and got a bit too introspective at times wich needlessly flowery prose.
There is also a war raging at the same time,wich doesnt seem to affect the island very much-it might be explained by being a bit isolated from the mainland. But I just felt that some more mention of it would have been believable.
As for the historical accuracy...I can very well believe these things happened to people who were admitted to asylums.The water treatment is a big threat through the book (regarded today as torture)
Some people even went mad because they were forcibly admitted to asylums.