By Kathy Hepinstall
Houghton Mifflin, 2012. 288 pgs. Fiction
I love a book that has fantastic characters and an intriguing story. Blue Asylum definitely had both. It is set during the Civil War but isn't the typical story of soldiers and hard times near and on the battlefield. This novel takes place on an isolated island that houses numerous unique "insane" patients as well some guards and a staff. There is also the resident doctor and family who don't seem any saner then some of the people getting treated there. The author wrote with an easy back and forth between memories and the current situations on the island. I really enjoyed each of the characters and their struggles. I think what really made this book stand out is that the issues are so complicated according to the doctor or the main characters, but really the love story and the way to their version of sanity is simple. Since it was written from the character's observations and the things they discovered, there wasn't a lot of narration. That led me to really care about everyone since they all had their secrets and mysteries that caused them pain. I couldn't put it down just so I could find out what happens to everyone.