Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    What I'm Giving | November 29, 2014

    Neil Patrick Harris: IMG Neil Patrick Harris: What I'm Giving



    At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$11.50
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

More copies of this ISBN

This title in other editions

Blue Asylum

by

Blue Asylum Cover

ISBN13: 9780547712079
ISBN10: 0547712073
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $11.50!

 

Staff Pick

On the surface, Kathy Hepinstall's Blue Asylum tells the story of a woman wrongly confined to an insane asylum for her independence and willfulness. Told in vivid and melodious prose, the novel slowly uncoils the truths of its characters lives and the hidden secrets that damage them. This story is captivating and satisfying in and of itself. On a deeper level, the novel examines the nature of insanity and the often-tragic irrationality of love. It looks at the motivations and consequences of human decisions, and questions how we should define morality. And, most importantly, it still manages to surprise readers.
Recommended by Michelle M, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Put on trial by her slaveholder husband and convicted of madness by a Virginia judge, Iris Dunleavy has been sent to the very expensive Sanibel Asylum to be restored as a good plantation wife. She will, the institution's superintendent assures her, be convinced of her wrongdoing, but Iris knows that her husband is the real criminal and that her efforts to gain restitution for herself and his slaves were wholly justified, especially in the eyes of God.

Sanibel Asylum is populated by the most wonderful lunatics: Lydia Helms Truman, who swallows anything in sight and was sent to the asylum by her husband after she attended the Seneca Falls convention; a man who finds himself stranded in the most inconvenient places because his feet are suddenly too heavy to move; a woman who can still see her dead husband and who remains blissfully in love, dancing with him on the beach some sunsets; and Ambrose Weller, a Confederate soldier whose memories of war terrorize him into wild fits that require sedation with laudanum, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris.

The institution is meant to be modern and encouraging, but Iris is skeptical of the superintendent's methods, particularly a much-whispered-about "water treatment." And she is no lunatic, only wrongfully accused by her cruel, abusive husband and the justice system built around protecting his property, which includes his plantation, his slaves, and her. She plots her escape and, having fallen in love with Ambrose, vows to take him with her.

Iris has the sharp wits and good looks of Scarlett O'Hara and Ambrose broods as seductively as any Rhett Butler, but their mutual cause here is not just true love but also true freedom, as they each yearn for a world of honor and peace.

Review:

"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. Deemed insane by a judge after defying her husband, Iris Dunleavy insists to the well-meaning but arrogant doctor of Sanibel Asylum, Dr. Henry Cowell, that she is sane. Meanwhile, veteran Ambrose Weller fights to maintain control of his war-torn emotions. As the horrors of Iris and Ambrose's pasts are slowly revealed, both Dr. Cowell and his alienated young son, Wendell, are irresistibly drawn to Iris, even as she plans her escape and wrestles with her love of Ambrose. Deftly interweaving past and present, Hepinstall sets the struggles of her characters against the rigidity of a traditional Southern society and the brutality of war in an absorbing story that explores both the rewards and perils of love, pride, and sanity itself. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"With Blue Asylum, Kathy Hepinstall presents the reader with the rare and delicious quandary of whether to race through and find out what happens to her characters or to linger over her vivid, beautifully crafted sentences. For me, the only resolution was to read it twice." Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound and When She Woke

Review:

"Features excellent pacing and strong character development that animate not only the inmates at the Sanibel Asylum but the characters from the preasylum lives of Iris and Ambrose. A first-rate choice for fans of intelligent historical romances." Library Journal, starred review

"Hepinstall 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... Deftly interweaving past and present, Hepinstall sets the struggles of her characters against the rigidity of a traditional Southern society and the brutality of war in an absorbing story that explores both the rewards and perils of love, pride, and sanity itself."Publishers Weekly

"A deep sense of the natural world, often-lyrical prose, and some touches of southern Gothic help carry along this tale of obsession and redemption."Booklist

"With Blue Asylum, Kathy Hepinstall presents the reader with the rare and delicious quandary of whether to race through and find out what happens to her characters or to linger over her vivid, beautifully crafted sentences. For me, the only resolution was to read it twice." Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound and When She Woke

"Blue Asylum is a gripping story of love and madness in the midst of the Civil War—I couldnt put it down!" Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House

"Blue Asylum casts a spell that keeps the reader turning pages as if in a trance. The language is lyrical but the plot is taut and compelling. The horrors of the Civil War are made real and specific in the story of the wounded soldier and the persecuted wife who find love and hope in the unlikely setting of a supposedly enlightened insane asylum on an isolated island in the Deep South. Kathy Hepinstall is a master storyteller in full command of her craft." Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of the beloved bestseller A Woman of Independent Means

Synopsis:

In the midst of the American Civil War, a southern plantation owner's wife is arrested by her husband and declared insane for interfering with his slaves. She is sent to an island mental asylum to come to terms with her wrongdoing, but instead finds love and escape with a war-haunted Confederate soldier.

Synopsis:

"Excellent pacing and strong character development . . . animate not only the inmates at the Sanibel Asylum but the characters from the preasylum lives of Iris and Ambrose. A first-rate choice for fans of intelligent historical romances." —Library Journal, starred review

Synopsis:

"Blue Asylum casts a spell that keeps the reader turning pages as if in a trance. The horrors of the Civil War are made real and specific in this story of a wounded soldier and a persecuted wife who find love and hope on an isolated island in the Deep South. Kathy Hepinstall is a master storyteller in full command of her craft." Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of A Woman of Independent Means

"Blue Asylum is a gripping story of love and madness in the midst of the Civil War—I couldn't put it down!" Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House

"With Blue Asylum, Kathy Hepinstall presents the reader with the rare and delicious quandary of whether to race through and find out what happens to her characters or to linger over her vivid, beautifully crafted sentences. For me, the only resolution was to read it twice." Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound and When She Woke

Synopsis:

Put on trial by her slaveholder husband and convicted of madness by a Virginia judge, Iris Dunleavy is sent to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good wife. But Iris knows her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of violating Southern notions of property.

A pompous superintendent heads this asylum populated by wonderful characters, including his self-diagnosing twelve-year-old son, a woman who swallows anything in sight, and Ambrose Weller, a 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." In this isolated place, she finds love with Ambrose. But can she take him with her if she escapes? Will there be anything for them to make a life from, back home?

Blue Asylum is the rich, absorbing story of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the call of freedom.

Video

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Zulaikha, December 21, 2012 (view all comments by Zulaikha)
I needed to be anywhere but in my own mind on the day I found this book at the library and the cover promised an entertaining diversion. The drawing even conveyed a wry amusement at how women once stood before the sea. The figure seemed to be engaged in a lively confrontation with somebody and I wanted to listen in.

This book turned out to be a great read. The plot was suspenseful, twisty, and well paced. The main character, Iris, was a plantation owner's wife who was judged to be insane for having defied and humiliated her husband. She was sent to this top-of-the-line insane asylum on Sanibel Island to be restored to her prior sane behavior as a good, obedient wife. But Iris was had been raised with integrity by a generous mother and a father who was a minister, and she was unusually stubborn and willful for the times. She learned how to manage as an inmate while plotting an escape. And then she fell in love with the broken soldier. The doctor heading the asylum seems at first to be not a very good bet for character development. Stubborn? Willful? And so on. But what I most enjoyed about Blue Asylum was the intelligence behind the whole thing, moving both plot and characters into unexpected positions and attitudes. I laughed, then felt sad, and cared about all of these people. Thank you, Kathy Hepinstall.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780547712079
Author:
Hepinstall, Kathy
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130409
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb

Other books you might like

  1. The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition... New Mass Market $17.50
  2. The Solitary House Used Hardcover $9.95
  3. Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen Sale Hardcover $7.97
  4. Bring Up the Bodies (A John MacRae Book)
    Used Trade Paper $10.95
  5. Elegy for Eddie: A Maisie Dobbs... Used Hardcover $9.50
  6. Broken Harbor
    Used Hardcover $9.95

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Blue Asylum Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547712079 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

On the surface, Kathy Hepinstall's Blue Asylum tells the story of a woman wrongly confined to an insane asylum for her independence and willfulness. Told in vivid and melodious prose, the novel slowly uncoils the truths of its characters lives and the hidden secrets that damage them. This story is captivating and satisfying in and of itself. On a deeper level, the novel examines the nature of insanity and the often-tragic irrationality of love. It looks at the motivations and consequences of human decisions, and questions how we should define morality. And, most importantly, it still manages to surprise readers.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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. Deemed insane by a judge after defying her husband, Iris Dunleavy insists to the well-meaning but arrogant doctor of Sanibel Asylum, Dr. Henry Cowell, that she is sane. Meanwhile, veteran Ambrose Weller fights to maintain control of his war-torn emotions. As the horrors of Iris and Ambrose's pasts are slowly revealed, both Dr. Cowell and his alienated young son, Wendell, are irresistibly drawn to Iris, even as she plans her escape and wrestles with her love of Ambrose. Deftly interweaving past and present, Hepinstall sets the struggles of her characters against the rigidity of a traditional Southern society and the brutality of war in an absorbing story that explores both the rewards and perils of love, pride, and sanity itself. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "With Blue Asylum, Kathy Hepinstall presents the reader with the rare and delicious quandary of whether to race through and find out what happens to her characters or to linger over her vivid, beautifully crafted sentences. For me, the only resolution was to read it twice."
"Review" by , "Features excellent pacing and strong character development that animate not only the inmates at the Sanibel Asylum but the characters from the preasylum lives of Iris and Ambrose. A first-rate choice for fans of intelligent historical romances." Library Journal, starred review

"Hepinstall 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... Deftly interweaving past and present, Hepinstall sets the struggles of her characters against the rigidity of a traditional Southern society and the brutality of war in an absorbing story that explores both the rewards and perils of love, pride, and sanity itself."Publishers Weekly

"A deep sense of the natural world, often-lyrical prose, and some touches of southern Gothic help carry along this tale of obsession and redemption."Booklist

"With Blue Asylum, Kathy Hepinstall presents the reader with the rare and delicious quandary of whether to race through and find out what happens to her characters or to linger over her vivid, beautifully crafted sentences. For me, the only resolution was to read it twice." Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound and When She Woke

"Blue Asylum is a gripping story of love and madness in the midst of the Civil War—I couldnt put it down!" Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House

"Blue Asylum casts a spell that keeps the reader turning pages as if in a trance. The language is lyrical but the plot is taut and compelling. The horrors of the Civil War are made real and specific in the story of the wounded soldier and the persecuted wife who find love and hope in the unlikely setting of a supposedly enlightened insane asylum on an isolated island in the Deep South. Kathy Hepinstall is a master storyteller in full command of her craft." Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of the beloved bestseller A Woman of Independent Means

"Synopsis" by , In the midst of the American Civil War, a southern plantation owner's wife is arrested by her husband and declared insane for interfering with his slaves. She is sent to an island mental asylum to come to terms with her wrongdoing, but instead finds love and escape with a war-haunted Confederate soldier.
"Synopsis" by , "Excellent pacing and strong character development . . . animate not only the inmates at the Sanibel Asylum but the characters from the preasylum lives of Iris and Ambrose. A first-rate choice for fans of intelligent historical romances." —Library Journal, starred review
"Synopsis" by , "Blue Asylum casts a spell that keeps the reader turning pages as if in a trance. The horrors of the Civil War are made real and specific in this story of a wounded soldier and a persecuted wife who find love and hope on an isolated island in the Deep South. Kathy Hepinstall is a master storyteller in full command of her craft." Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of A Woman of Independent Means

"Blue Asylum is a gripping story of love and madness in the midst of the Civil War—I couldn't put it down!" Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House

"With Blue Asylum, Kathy Hepinstall presents the reader with the rare and delicious quandary of whether to race through and find out what happens to her characters or to linger over her vivid, beautifully crafted sentences. For me, the only resolution was to read it twice." Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound and When She Woke

"Synopsis" by ,

Put on trial by her slaveholder husband and convicted of madness by a Virginia judge, Iris Dunleavy is sent to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good wife. But Iris knows her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of violating Southern notions of property.

A pompous superintendent heads this asylum populated by wonderful characters, including his self-diagnosing twelve-year-old son, a woman who swallows anything in sight, and Ambrose Weller, a 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." In this isolated place, she finds love with Ambrose. But can she take him with her if she escapes? Will there be anything for them to make a life from, back home?

Blue Asylum is the rich, absorbing story of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the call of freedom.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.