The Painted Bridge
Author: Wendy Wallace
Published: July 17, 2012
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Book Description from Amazon:
JUST OUTSIDE LONDON, behind a high stone wall, lies Lake House, a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature. In the winter of 1859, Anna Palmer becomes its newest patient. To Anna’s dismay, her new husband has declared her in need of treatment and brought her to this shabby asylum.
Confused and angry, Anna is determined to prove her sanity, but with her husband and doctors unwilling to listen, her freedom will not be easily won. As the weeks pass, she finds other allies: a visiting physician who believes the new medium of photography may reveal the state of a patient’s mind; a longtime patient named Talitha Batt, who seems, to Anna’s surprise, to be as sane as she is; and the proprietor’s bookish daughter, who also yearns to escape.
Yet the longer Anna remains at Lake House, the more she realizes that—like the ethereal bridge over the asylum’s lake—nothing and no one is quite as it appears. Not her fellow patients, her husband, her family—not even herself. Locked alone in her room, driven by the treatments of the time into the recesses of her own mind, she may discover the answers and the freedom she seeks . . . or how thin the line between madness and sanity truly is.
I was really disappointed in this book. Y’all know me well enough by now to know that I’ll pick up any book about an asylum. I got really excited by the description and the beautiful cover . . . but it was so boring! I’m sorry, and I hate saying it, but this was one of those books that I just slugged through. Normally books take me a couple days, a week at most, but this book took me nearly 2 weeks to finish.
I love books that keep me thinking about the story even when the book is closed, and draws me in to where I can’t wait to sit and open it up again. This book did not do that. I liked Anna and Catherine, and I liked how Wallace brought out the problems of the way the insane were treated back then, and the underlying message of true feminism. The story itself was just ok. There were certain times that the technicalities of photography had me yawing. I wish she had gotten into the relationship between Dr. St. Clair and Anna more, but they barely interacted with each other and it was frustrating. Overall, I don’t think I’d recommend this book to anyone.