Jessica's Reviews > Blue Asylum

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall
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Apr 17, 12

bookshelves: adult, own
Read in April, 2012

Blue Asylum is a story about standing up for yourself, and being punished for it. Iris Dunleavy is a woman who simply wants to speak her mind. The wife of a plantation owner, she finds herself aghast at the treatment of the slaves. In a mad attempt to do something to help, poor Iris finds herself in a "modern" asylum. What Kathy Hepinstall has created here is a heart wrenching story about a misunderstood woman, who just wants to be heard.

The characters in this story are colorful, vivid and very enjoyable to follow. Iris especially is one witty and wonderful woman. Her views on the world are strong and well thought out. As her story unfolded, I began to wonder precisely why she was in the asylum at all. Hepinstall paces the story beautifully though, and bread crumbs are laid out to show the past that is haunting Iris' existence. However it isn't only Iris who shines off the page. Each inhabitant of the asylum has their own quirks, their own personality, and I found myself intrigued by them. It makes for a very immersing read.

Blue Asylum is all about healing, misunderstandings, and, underneath everything else, blind hope. It is easy to see how women were mistreated during this time period. Still, the more I read the more I felt myself feeling just like Iris. There are moments when the line between sanity and madness really does blur. What I can definitely say is that this is a piece of historical fiction that is well done. It drew me in, and before I knew it I was turning the last page.

At the end I was still left with some pressing questions, which I'll admit irked me a bit. Overall though Blue Asylum was a very enjoyable and quick read. Fans of Historical Fiction will find a lot to love between these pages. The vivid characters themselves are enough to draw the reader in, and keep them there until the end. If there is more out there from Kathy Hepinstall, I'd love to read it! This may be my new favorite genre.
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