Krista's Reviews > Blue Asylum

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall
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May 09, 2012

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bookshelves: historical-fiction, historical-romance, rhfl-challenge-2012
Read in May, 2012

Quite a fascinating look at an asylum of Civil War-era America. The heroine, Iris Dunleavy, is wrongly confined by her husband (she rebelled against him, so he declared her mad); she initially believes it will be a simple matter to convince the resident physician of her sanity, but finds this is not the case. Her only salvation is her growing friendship with Ambrose Weller, a former soldier, who suffers from a severe case of PTSD. Their friendship deepens into romance, and eventually the two manage to escape together.

Iris thinks that their love is all that is needed to "save" Ambrose, but his rages are unpredictable, and he comes to rely more and more upon laudanum to see him through the night. The end (not surprisingly) results in more violence, more death, and Iris is left alone.

Moving and thought-provoking; although I know it wasn't at all realistic, I couldn't help but wish that Iris and Ambrose had enjoyed some kind of happy-ever-after.
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