Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blue Asylum

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
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?”
From Goodreads

 I was hesitant to read this one at first simply because I think I have read everything I every wanted to about the Civil War. The Insanity angle intrigued  however and I downloaded a sample.  By the time I finished the sample I knew I would have to get the entire book. 
             We rarely see anything about the male dominant culture of the South. Plantation owners are either portrayed as loving father figures with lovely southern wives or evil slave beaters whose wives stand by in approval.  How many times was there dissension over slaver between a couple?  What could happen to a woman who disagreed with her powerful husband?
 My rating:  3.75 stars

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