The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Blue Asylum


Typically a civil war novel depicts the destruction to land and family. Blue Asylum (A)  by Kathy Hepinstall focuses on the suffering of body, mind and soul.

Iris Dunleavy was raised in a quiet southern town. Her life seemed boring and uneventful and a local romance would offer her more of the same. One day a successful plantation owner visits and within a short period of time convinces her and her family that they should marry. She believes she has made a good choice but the honeymoon is quickly over. Joining a group of plantation slaves in their attempt to escape is her only way out. They are killed; she is captured and sentenced to an insane asylum on Sanibel Island in Florida.

There are many “lunatics” at the asylum. She isn’t one of them and believes she can convince Dr. Cowell that she doesn’t belong there. He is certain he can help her and restore her to her rightful place beside her husband.

Ambrose Weller, a patient suffering with his own demons becomes her friend, confidante and eventually her lover. Together with the help of Wendell, the doctor’s son, they hatch a plan for escape.

Hepinstall delivers a powerful story in Blue Asylum with characters that are vulnerable and captivating. There is clearly a fine line between sanity and madness. Can lunacy be cured? Is loving someone enough to make it happen or is thinking this madness too?

Blue Asylum is uniquely different than other novels in this genre. The telling of the story is compelling and thought provoking. I know that you will want to read it too. This is the perfect book for further discussion.


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