Friday, May 17, 2013

Blue Asylum and The Sisters

As usual, trying to catch up on my book reviews...

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall is a Civil War era historical fiction novel, which is one of my most favorite
time periods to read about.  In this book, Iris Dunleavy was sentenced to Sanibel Asylum, convicted of madness.  Her plantation-slave-owning husband learned of her kindness and actions toward "his" slaves and wanted her "restored to a compliant Virginia plantation wife", thus her stay at the asylum, which is located on a remote island in Florida.  It was interesting to read of the various inmates at the asylum and their levels/degrees of "madness".  Iris met Ambrose Weller there who was sent there to deal with his experiences from the War.  Ambrose and Iris were attracted to each other and hoped to escape the island to be together.

The characters in this novel are very interesting.  It is much more than just a love story.  It is a story about the powerlessness of women in that time period and the intensity of war for those who fought in it.  And the cruelty and hopelessness of the people held in slavery.  A good read for the summer!

I just finished The Sisters by Nancy Jensen that I found at the library.  Turned out to be a fairly good find. 
However, I did have trouble keeping all of the characters straight.  It is a novel about sisters, generations of sisters. It was a good story and premise, but I wish that the author had found a way to make it less confusing to read.  Thankfully, there was a family tree at the beginning of the book that I could go back and reference.  I think that there is a lot in this book to ponder as one thinks back on the different sister's relationships.  But I would have to read it again to get it all straight!

I did like how the book began in 1927 and ended in 2007.  It was an interesting way to tell the stories.  Lots of family secrets in the story, which, as in real life, always come out in the end.  I always enjoy reading how those secrets impact other's lives.

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