Books from the Backlog #23

Posted August 30, 2018 by Carole in Books from the Backlog / 31 Comments

Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf unread.  If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks.
If you would like to join in, please feel free to enter your link and link back to this post, then spend some time visiting some of the other posts.  

This week’s neglected book

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall


Release Date: April 12, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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.

The institution calls itself modern, but Iris is skeptical of its methods, particularly the dreaded “water treatment.” She must escape, but she has found new hope and love with Ambrose. Can she take him with her? If they make it out, will the war have left anything for them to make a life from, back home? Blue Asylum is a vibrant, beautifully-imagined, absorbing story of the lines we all cross between sanity and madness. It is also the tale of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the undeniable call of freedom.

Why did I add Blue Asylum to my bookshelf?

I actually bought this book shortly after it was released in April 2012.  This book has so many things that appeal to me with the Civil War era setting and the treatment of women and those with mental health issues.    The reviews do seem to be a bit mixed on this one but it looks to be worth a try. 

What are your thoughts? Have you read this book?  Would you recommend it to others?

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31 responses to “Books from the Backlog #23

  1. Wow, I am not a fan of historical fiction and where this woman ends up because she is innocent. How horrible. It kinda made me mad just reading the synopsis about where "she is sent away to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good, compliant woman" wtf?
    Anyway, here's to womens lib lol

  2. I always wonder why in historical fiction they seem to have the woman's head missing! It's the same in my Tudor novels…no heads! Mind you with Henry VIII that's no surprise!

  3. What fun! I never bought it, but this one really caught my eye when it came out. I was eager for all the same stuff you are. I should check the library. Hope you enjoy it when you get the chance, Carole!

  4. I don't think I've ever heard of this one! I love the cover but I think I'll wait to see what you think of it before I add it to my list.

  5. Sounds like it would be an interesting read. I thought it was strange that women in the past were sent to Asylum for doing things that males didn't agree with. I hope you enjoy it, if you decide to read it.

  6. I don't read a lot of historical fiction set during the Civil War. I am usually over in England during that time period. I am not sure why. This does sound good.