Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall

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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.

About Kathy Hepinstall

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Kathy Hepinstall is the author of three previous novels, The House of Gentle Men (a Los Angeles Times bestseller), The Absence of Nectar (a national bestseller), and The Prince of Lost Places. She is an award-winning creative director and advertising writer, whose clients have included top brands in American business. She grew up in Texas.
Published April 10, 2012 by Mariner Books. 285 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Proud of his research linking the suffragette movement to increasing numbers of women committed to insane asylums, Cowell despairs of reforming Iris into a proper, submissive wife.

Apr 05 2012 | Read Full Review of Blue Asylum

Publishers Weekly

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Hepinstall (The Absence of Nectar) exquisitely illustrates the fate of societal outsiders in this richly compelling Civil War–era tale of the former mistress of a Virginia plantation, now confined to a beautiful island asylum, and her burgeoning love for a traumatized Confederate soldier.

Jan 23 2012 | Read Full Review of Blue Asylum

Portland Book Review

Wilson Pulitzer Prize-Winning Biologist Author of On Human Nature Sat 11 Tix are available at Sun7:30 @Powells the first collection of short fiction from Jess Walter, is a suite of diverse, often comic stories Saturday the 2nd, 10am / Powell’s City of Books ...

Sep 26 2012 | Read Full Review of Blue Asylum

Destination Wake Forest

During the Civil War, Iris Dunleavy is declared a lunatic and sent to the Sanibel Asylum to be cured by the renowned Dr. Cowell.

Apr 28 2012 | Read Full Review of Blue Asylum

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