As you might notice, I’ve gotten more into book reviews. I’ve always loved reading and I’ve learned that another awesome thing about blogging is that you can get FREE books to read (without going to the library, which I used to do as a child, but I get so lazy about libraries these days) just by promising to review the book for them. And often I get to give YOU a chance to win a free copy as well, which I think is pretty cool, because all you have to do is read my blog 🙂
I was sent “The Painted Bridge” by Wendy Wallace. The book takes place in 1859 outside of London, at Lake House, a private asylum for “genteel women of a delicate nature.”
The main character, Anna, has been locked up in the asylum by her husband for having “hysterics” and “mania.” I found the book difficult to read, not because IT was difficult to read, but because of the idea that a woman could be locked up indefinitely for “hysterics”, in other words, for being emotional or opinionated—if those opinions were different than her husband’s. The author did a wonderful job bringing us into the world of Victorian England and the “psychiatry” of the time. I kept reading the book and then putting it down again. I became very frustrated for Anna, because she seemed to want so badly to prove she was sane, but then things would happen that would seemingly make her seem insane, and it was just very frustrating.
It’s worth reading if you are interested in the way mental health used to be back then, because I can tell it is a very well researched book. It has a lot of minor story lines that were harder to follow, and a few minor characters that weren’t as well fleshed as one might hope, but overall it was an interesting read, and the ending has a few twists that I didn’t see coming but wrapped everything up very nicely. (I often hate a book with loose ends—call me immature, but I want stories to finish and be wrapped up at the end of a book.)
I like to read for a variety of reasons: to be entertained, to learn something new, to learn something I already know, or to be taken to a whole new world. This fell into the second two categories. As an opinionated and emotional woman, it’s frightening to think that 150 years ago I could have been locked up for being myself! (Or more recently that that…or if I lived in a different country than I do now even.) I’m lucky to be where I am and with the man I’m with, and reading The Painted Bridge makes me feel even more so.
Want to win a free copy (may be more than one winner!)? Leave a comment here telling me something that makes you feel lucky. Giveaway runs through 10 pm CST Sunday, December 16. U.S. residents only. Winner(s) will be notified by email.
I was given a free copy of the book but was otherwise not compensated for my review. All opinions are my own.