By Joanna Davidson Politano
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Content caution: No sex or swearing, but there’s a lot of cruelty as asylum patients were often viewed as less than human.
When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant’s father dies, he leaves to her the care of an unknown adult ward who’s shockingly familiar. The ward is supposedly a patient at Hurstwell Asylum, but when Vivienne inquires, the Asylum claims to have no record of her. Compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams, Vivienne takes a job at Hurstwell.
But the longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. Strange missives appear from nowhere, music haunts her nightly rounds, and powerful people are determined to silence her. Can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks or will she become lost as well?
It’s been a long time since a book made me feel so much. In the beginning it was mostly anxiety. I knew just enough about Victorian asylums to be scared. Honestly, I spent about half the book wanting to put it down, but also dying to see what came next. For a while, I wasn’t sure it would get better.
Then Vivienne begins to see God’s hand in her awful circumstances, and learns to shine her own light into the darkness through music. There’s so much hope in this book, not that the bad things will go away, but that God’s light will shine through them.
I don’t have much bad to say about this one. There were a few plot points I wish had been fleshed out or left out, but the good far outweighs the bad.
This is easily my favorite book this year. I think everyone should read it. Especially if you’re feeling rundown, anxious, or depressed by life or the way the world is right now.
By the way, my copy (shown above) is a special edition from Once Upon a Book Box Club. If you’re searching for the book, look for this cover: