Synopses & Reviews
Spellbinding and intricate, The Painted Bridge
is a tale of secrets, lost lives, and a woman seizing her own destiny: “A chilling page-turner about the muddy line between sanity and madness” (Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You
Outside London behind a stone wall stands Lake House, a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature. In the winter of 1859, recently married Anna Palmer becomes its newest arrival, tricked by her husband into leaving home, incarcerated against her will, and declared hysterical and unhinged. With no doubts as to her sanity, Anna is convinced that she will be released as soon as she can tell her story. But Anna learns that liberty will not come easily. The longer she remains at Lake House, the more she realizes that—like the ethereal bridge over the asylum’s lake—nothing is as it appears. She begins to experience strange visions and memories that may lead her to the truth about her past, herself, and to freedom…or lead her so far into the recesses of her mind that she may never escape.
Set in Victorian England, as superstitions collide with a new psychological understanding, novelist Wendy Wallace “masterfully creates an atmosphere of utter claustrophobia and dread, intermingled with the ever-present horror of the reality of women’s minimal rights in the nineteenth century” (Publishers Weekly). The Painted Bridge is a tale of self-discovery, secrets, and a search for the truth in a world where the line between madness and sanity seems perilously thin.
"A haunting look at women's asylums in 1850s England...Wallace masterfully creates an atmosphere of utter claustrophobia and dread." -Publishers Weekly
"An impressive debut with a captivating heroine and an absorbing storyline. A compulsive page-turner." -Catharine Arnold, author of Bedlam
"I was gripped by this fantastic book. Chilling, heart-warming, very well written and researched, this is an unusual novel about Victorian England." -Rosie Boycott, author of A Nice Girl Like Me and Our Farm
"The Painted Bridge
is something special: an intriguing and disturbing tale of the reality of women's lives behind the veil of Victorian respectability, which will have resonance today. Beautifully written and evoked." -Rachel Hore, bestselling author of A Gathering Storm
“Soft, intricate and languid with a twist in the tale. This is a mesmerizing first novel.” —Viv Groskop, Red magazine (U.K.)
"What if you were sent to a mental institution against your will? That’s the premise of Wallace’s gripping new novel, set against the backdrop of Victorian England. As heroine Anna Palmer fights to be released, she begins to question everything she ever thought she knew. A chilling page-turner about the muddy line between sanity and madness."
"Ripe with viscerally appealing drama but also with important implications. ...subtle and well-considered."
"A fantastic read... The minor characters were brilliantly drawn and their own individual stories made this book all the more compelling."
About the Author
Wendy Wallace, author of The Painted Bridge, is an award-winning freelance journalist and writer. Before she turned to fiction, she was a senior features writer for the London Times Educational Supplement for ten years and the author of a nonfiction book on life in an inner city primary school, Oranges and Lemons. Her second novel is The Sacred River. She lives in London.