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THE ASYLUM by Karen Coles

1906: Being a woman is dangerous, being different is deadly.

Maud Lovell has been at Angelton Lunatic Asylum for five years. She is not sure how she came to be there and knows nothing beyond its four walls. She is hysterical, distressed, untrustworthy. Badly unstable and prone to violence. Or so she has been told.

When a new doctor arrives, keen to experiment with the revolutionary practice of medical hypnosis, Maud’s lack of history makes her the perfect case study. But as Doctor Dimmond delves deeper into the past, it becomes clear that confinement and high doses are there to keep her silent.

When Maud finally remembers what has been done to her, and by whom, her mind turns to her past and to revenge.

Title : The Asylum
Author : Karen Coles
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 352
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : Welbeck Publishing
Release Date : April 1, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

Eerie and sinister
Gothically good

The Asylum was a page-turner of a gothic thriller. Set inside the mind and experiences of Maud who was incarcerated with amnesia, this was a story of such mistreatment that it was tough to read at times. There was no doubt that Maud was mentally ill, but beyond help…no.

The story tracks a good doc/bad doc situation in this historical asylum. One psychiatrist determined to advocate for Maud and help her with getting her memories back, the other was determined to prevent this. Maud’s story as it unravelled was sad, discomforting, tragic and at times horrendous.

There are no chains binding me, no manacles, yet I am chained to this place as securely as if there were indeed a manacle around my neck. I am chained here by my madness.

The powerless of women in this era, especially those without means, was underlying the whole story. Men in control, men taking advantage, men doing much worse. There were women as accessories to the bad experiences but Maud eventually found inner strength in her lucidity.

I found The Asylum hard to put down, those pages turned themselves as I wanted answers for the mystery. This was a great, satisfying thriller with a rather dark foreboding feel to it. That cover is stunning and clever. There are a number of triggers in this book for some readers, so please look for trigger warnings or DM me for details.

Thank you to Welbeck Publishing for the early #gifted review copy.

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