Blue Asylum

Blue Asylum

A Novel

Book - 2012
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Amid the mayhem of the American Civil War, a Virginia plantation wife is put on trial by her slaveholder husband. Iris Dunleavy is convicted of madness by a Virginia judge; it is the only reasonable explanation the court can see for her willful behavior, so she is sent to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good compliant wife. But Iris knows her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing with him on Southern notions of justice, cruelty, and property. On a remote Florida island, a pompous superintendent heads this asylum populated by wonderful characters, including his self-diagnosing twelve-year-old son, a woman who swallows anything in sight, and Ambrose Weller, a 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." In this isolated place, she finds love with Ambrose. But can she take him with her if she escapes? Will there be anything for them to make a life from, back home? This novel is the story of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the call of freedom.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
ISBN: 9780547712079
Branch Call Number: F Hepi
Characteristics: 270 p. ; 22 cm.


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Jul 19, 2016

Literary prose. Very effective use of color references on nearly every page. Iris and Ambrose inspired my sympathy and admiration.

Sep 17, 2014

Beautifully written and very engaging.

Jan 24, 2013

Original, beautifully written.

Aug 02, 2012

I confess I did not finish this book. The premise is engaging; who can resist the idea of a plantation wife imprisoned in a Florida asylum? But the story was plodding, the writing pedestrian, and the characters superficially limned. It wasn't awful, but hey, life is too short to finish uninspired books.

Very good!


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