Book Review: The Asylum

Happy Tuesday!  It is time for another book review.  Tuesday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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A brilliant new Gothic thriller from the acclaimed author of The Ghost Writer and The Seance

Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a private asylum in a remote corner of England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor, Maynard Straker, tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton the day before, then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.”

Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? And what has become of her two most precious possessions, a dragonfly pin left to her by her mother and a writing case containing her journal, the only record of those missing weeks? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes us from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.

Another delicious read from the author praised by Ruth Rendell as having “a gift for creating suspense, apparently effortlessly, as if it belongs in the nature of fiction.”-Goodreads summary

*Please note: This is an adult fiction novel with some scenes and language that may not be suitable for minors.  Reader discretion is advised!*

Judge the Book by its Cover:

  • This cover creeps me out.  I’m not quite sure who the picture is supposed to be.  Regardless, her eyes follow me!  Super spooky and makes readers anticipate what is beyond the cover.

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • This book is not told in chapters; rather it is divided into three parts.  Parts I and III, AKA Georgina’s Narrative, were full of suspense and some action.  These parts encouraged me to read and solve the mystery of who was this mysterious impostor.
  • I really liked the real Georgina, particularly the one in Parts I and III, She is incredibly smart and determined to prove her identity.

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

  • Part II was an epic struggle.  It took me days to get through part II.  This section was a combination of letters between two characters and passages from Georgina’s journal prior to her entrance in the asylum.  These letters and journal entries added new characters and too many possible solutions to the mystery.  After awhile, I became disengaged.  They had cried “He/she did it!” too many times for me to really care.  I felt like the author scoured every possible solution, some which I found utterly intriguing, but chose the most obvious, cliche, and boring answer.  It was a major disappointment.
  • Additionally, this book, particularly in Part II, had way too many soap opera moments.  The incest and romances were unnecessary.  As a reader, I felt like Harwood was trying too hard to impress his audience by adding even more shock value to the story.  Rather, he should have relied on an utterly shocking plot, rather than minor shocking details.
  • In part II, the journal entries seemed to overemphasize certain scenes, which clearly pointed to foreshadowing.  This made the ending pretty predictable.  Despite all of the theories he invented, Harwood’s constant foreshadowing allowed me to solve the mystery within 100 pages.  At the same time, these journal entries were vague in other details.  While the real Georgina is attempting to solve her mystery, she innovated these crazy ideas, which she got from reading her journal.  I’d reread these passages and never find where she got her answers.  Very aggravating.  These journal entries could use some work.
  • Lastly, ANYTIME something suspenseful was happening, the character fell and blacked out.  The first time was acceptable, but after five I was done.  Overall, I think this points to Harwood’s attempt to create too much suspense to compensate for the lackluster ending.

My Rating:

★★★ 3/5 stars!

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy adult fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Asylum

  1. This is probably something I should skip and not read. I’m not a big fan or historical fiction and for me to like mystery and thriller, it has to be fast-paced and mind-boggling. Awesome review, helped me decide! 🙂

    • This book requires much patience! I agree with you. While this book has the mystery and suspense/thriller elements, it’s not my personal favorite! To each their own, though!
      Glad I could help you! 🙂

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