The Asylum by John Harwood

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With overtones of gothic horror, Harwood’s tale is darkly overwhelming and readers are going to feel suffocated by the twisting plot, heavy language and weighty characters.
-RT Book Reviews

Synopsis

“Harwood, master of creeping Victorian horror, does it again . . . Twisted in every sense of the word and wonderfully atmospheric.”—Booklist

Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a remote asylum in England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor, Maynard Straker, tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton, then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.” Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes us from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.

“Redolent with a sense of foreboding . . . This gothic tale will sweep you up into the very heart of Victorian England. A splendid read!”—Historical Novel Society, Editors’ Choice

“A richly textured . . . [and] masterfully constructed narrative . . . Readers are guaranteed a thoroughly diverting time in Harwood’s not-to-be-trusted hands.”—The Independent (UK)

“The crisp prose and twisty plot will encourage many to read this in one sitting.”—Publishers Weekly
 

About John Harwood

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John Harwood is the author of two previous novels of Victorian Gothic suspense. Aside from fiction, his published work includes biography, poetry, political journalism and literary history. His acclaimed first novel, The Ghost Writer, won the International Horror Guild's First Novel Award. He lives in Hobart, Australia.
 
Published May 21, 2013 by Mariner Books. 274 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Literature & Fiction, Horror. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Asylum
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Feb 18 2013

While the Gothicism works well, at times Harwood’s convolutions become as mystifying to the reader as to the characters he depicts.

Read Full Review of The Asylum | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Mar 18 2013

Only gradually do the events that led to her confinement become clear. The crisp prose and twisty plot will encourage many to read this in one sitting, though the ending won’t satisfy everyone.

Read Full Review of The Asylum | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

RT Book Reviews

Below average
on May 01 2013

With overtones of gothic horror, Harwood’s tale is darkly overwhelming and readers are going to feel suffocated by the twisting plot, heavy language and weighty characters.

Read Full Review of The Asylum

Historical Novel Society

Good

This novel is redolent with a sense of foreboding and twists and turns with suspense...Reminiscent of Dickens or even Henry James, this gothic tale will sweep you up into the very heart of Victorian England. A splendid read!

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Karen Russo

Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

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