Barb's Reviews > Blue Asylum

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall
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's review
Feb 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: new-in-2012, vine, america-civil-war, mental-health, own-it, read-in-2012, slavery, strong-female-protagonist, women, favs-of-2012, don-t-read-with-pms, short-ones
Read in February, 2012

Iris Dunleavy is different from the others at the Sanibel Insane Asylum, she's been convicted of madness but it's her husband's horrific acts that forced her to act in a way others thought was crazy. The Civil War rages on in the battle fields further north and in the mind of Ambrose Weller who has been driven to fits of madness by what he knows of war. Dr. Henry Cowell has dedicated himself to the recovery of his patients to their former selves. He lives in a cottage on the island with his wife Mary and their young son Wendell.

The island itself surrounds the patients with the beauty of nature, the cloudless sky, the calming water, the sky at sunset and all of the blue. The sky, the water, the walls are blue, the blue that soothes Ambrose's violent outbursts, his insanity. But what is insanity...what is love? What is obsession?

Despite the novel's mere two hundred seventy pages the writing is very polished and communicates the essential ideas, feelings and imagery so the reader is presented with a vivid picture of the emotions, relationships and setting as well as the events that unfold.

Several questions give the story momentum: what did Iris do that was so inappropriate? what horrors did her husband commit? what drove Ambrose to madness? what does the future hold for the two of them?

I enjoyed this novel very much and recommend it to readers of historical fiction but also to readers who don't typically read from that genre. I will be looking for other novels by Kathy Hepinstall.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Misfit (new) - added it

Misfit I wanted to pick this up on Vine, but didn't see it still available last week :/

Barb I think it was there because the only things I saw that I wanted I had already gotten and this was one of them...sorry you missed it!

message 3: by Misfit (new) - added it

Misfit Phhht! Not like I don't have enough to read, and I'm sure it will eventually land at the library. I did get a couple of other promising books, so I'll just make do :)

message 4: by Misfit (new) - added it

Misfit I'm guessing it was gone by the time I could log in. The fourth Thursday I have a luncheon thing I go to and don't get back until around 2PM when I can look at the leftovers. Didn't have much use for the baby stuff :p

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