Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall

Blue Asylum by Kathy HepinstallTitle: Blue Asylum
Author: Kathy Hepinstall
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
Hardcover: 288 pages

Where’d I Get It: For Review from the Publisher

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Virginia plantation wife Iris Dunleavy is put on trial and convicted of madness. It is the only reasonable explanation the court can see for her willful behavior, so she is sent away to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good, compliant woman. Iris knows, though, that her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing with him on notions of justice, cruelty, and property. 
On this remote Florida island, cut off by swamps and seas and military blockades, Iris meets a wonderful collection of residents— some seemingly sane, some wrongly convinced they are crazy, some charmingly odd, some dangerously unstable. Which of these is Ambrose Weller, the war-haunted Confederate soldier whose memories terrorize him into wild fits that can only be calmed by the color blue, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris?

My Thoughts: As a disclaimer, I’m not a history buff and I have not read this to be analytical of the authors level of research for end-of-Civil-War era information. Quite honestly, I read it just to read it, and I reviewed it as I would any other novel. Therefore, this should not be seen as a literal review of a Historical Fiction, but rather as a review of a general work of fiction.

While Ms. Hepinstall’s writing was engaging and the story compelling, I feel as though a lack of information and detail may have detracted enough from the story that I was unable to really fall in love with any of the characters, and as such was unable to invest a lot of emotion in their plights.

That said, I did read to the end and I -was- interested. This simple fact is, I think, thanks simply to the writing of the author; she really does have a way with words and her weaving of the plot could have produced so very much if only she’d gone into a little more depth. I’d have liked to have been able to see more of the reasoning behind the “love” portrayed and I’d have also really enjoyed knowing what exactly it was that drew so many people to our protagonist.

All in all, it was a good book.

Rating: 3 of 5

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