Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall
Color me a litle wackadoodle… but ever since One Flew Over The Coocoo’s Nest, I have had a little thing for books and movies centered around insane asylums. And if you also are drawn to such topics… you know they are few and far between. Nobody…. quite literally…
wants to go there.
Well, until now. When Iris Dunleavy during Civil War time is convicted of madness for being willfull (and yes, I should watch my back!), she is sent to Sanibel Asylum – not a nice little r and r at a local country club, nope… a full fledge asylum with a plethora of interesting, and colorful, characters.
The plan is that Iris is to work the program and be restored to the obedient woman her hubby thinks she should be and then she will also be restored to her wifely duties. Iris of course knows she is not mad, simply strong willed and standing up for her rights. However… mad may be preferable to her life she had…
And then there is Ambrose Weller, a war-haunted Confederate soldier who is calmed only by the color blue. Iris finds herself drawn to him and as she plans a way out of this dreadful place she ponders if she could possibly make a break for two, bringing Ambrose along with her to a life she knows nothing of…
I have been reading a few lighter more “summery” reads as of late and Blue Asylum is quite a bit different from that genre. Quite truly Historical Fiction Blue Asylum is a book with a back bone, and that backbone is named Iris Dunleavy.
I was happy to meet the strong and witty Iris within the pages of this book. She is just the type of female character that keeps me turning pages. Having heard how well Kathy Hepinstall writes, this brilliant protagonist did not surprise me… however, what did, was the surrounding characters who also felt three-dimensional, and actually made me feel for them. I like that.
A cast of fun characters burst forth from Hepinstalls mind – a woman who like to swallow things… really anything… rings, whatever. Another who believes her husband is beside her as she talks to him and walks with him day in and day out… another, a man whose feet are too heavy to move… and of course Ambrose, who is haunted by a war that only the color blue seems to sooth…
What I really enjoyed is how Iris interacted and even helped each person in a way.
a little bit historical… a little bit romance… for me a pleasant mix that left me thinking after that final page was closed.
Little bonus for Asylum enthusiasts…. I found this site for famous Asylums
Thank you TLC for sending me this review copy
that kept me reading and cheering Iris on!