The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
BOOK DESCRIPTION: A spellbinding tale of secrets, lost lives, and a Victorian woman seizing her own destiny
Just outside London behind a tall stone wall stands Lake House, a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature. In the winter of 1859, recently-married Anna Palmer becomes its newest arrival, tricked by her husband into leaving her home, incarcerated against her will and declared hysterical and unhinged. With no doubts as to her sanity, Anna is convinced that she will be released as soon as she can tell her story.
But Anna quickly learns that liberty will not come easily. And the longer she remains at Lake House, the more she realises that -- like the ethereal bridge over the asylum's lake -- nothing is as it appears. Locked alone in her room, she begins to experience strange visions and memories that may lead her to the truth about her past, herself, and to freedom - or lead her so far into the recesses of her mind that she may never escape…
Set in Victorian England, as superstitions collide with a new psychological understanding, this elegant, emotionally suspenseful debut novel is a tale of self-discovery, secrets, and search for the truth in a world where the line between madness and sanity seems perilously fine. (Goodreads)
MY REVIEW: An excellent read. There was real tension as Anna tries to survive and escape from her confinement. The Victorian culture was very well described and I learned a lot about what that period believed about mental health and its treatment. The experiments by a doctor that tries to work out how to read photographs to diagnose mental illness were intriguing — and loosely based on phrenology which was considered to be a science at the time. It’s a beautifully written novel with great plot development and interesting characters. Liked it a lot.
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