The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace
A Novel

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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 notbe 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.

Wendy Wallace’s taut, elegantly crafted first novel, The Painted Bridge, i s a s tory o f f amily betrayals and illicit power; it is also a compelling portrait of the startling history of the psychiatric field and the treatment of women— in society and in these institutions. Wallace sets these ideas and her characters on the page beautifully, telling a riveting story that is surprising and deeply moving.

About Wendy Wallace

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Wendy Wallace is an award-winning freelance journalist, short story writer, and author of two nonfiction books. She is a former senior features writer for the Times Educational Supplement and in 2001 she was named Education Journalist of the Year. Her journalism has appeared in the Telegraph, the Guardian, and The Scotsman. She lives in London.
Published July 17, 2012 by Scribner. 306 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Painted Bridge

Kirkus Reviews

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With Catherine’s help, Anna escapes Lake House long enough to learn a shocking secret about Vincent, but her sense of responsibility for the adolescent sends her back to Lake House where Abse, in a fit of paternal vengeance—he mistakenly believes Anna has led Catherine astray—comes close to break...

Jun 24 2012 | Read Full Review of The Painted Bridge: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Inciting her new husband’s wrath by departing unannounced to help the survivors of a shipwreck, Anna Palmer has been sent to Lake House, within whose shabby confines she cycles through disbelief, denial, and anger.

May 07 2012 | Read Full Review of The Painted Bridge: A Novel

The Bookbag

Alongside all their trials and troubles, the women of Lake House are being photographed as part of a research experiment into the causes of mental illness.

Jul 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Painted Bridge: A Novel

Historical Novel Society

It vividly portrays practices in mental hospitals of the time, and gives the reader a painfully clear idea of the vulnerable legal position of women in Victorian England.

| Read Full Review of The Painted Bridge: A Novel

Red Online

She has been promised that she will be released as soon as she can tell her story, but as Lake House begins to occupy her imagination, she finds herself having strange visions and memories.

May 30 2012 | Read Full Review of The Painted Bridge: A Novel

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