I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.
Imagine being sent off to a mental hospital because you did not obey your husband, because you thought your own thoughts and asked questions. Well, that was a reality at one point.
During the Civil War, Iris is sent to Sanibel Asylum for being just that type of wife. She is not a lunatic, she's just her own person with a mind of her own. As soon as she arrives, she tries to find a way out, a way to escape. However, things get complicated when she falls in love with Ambrose, a Confederate soldier whose actions from the war still haunt him.
We also meet all the other folks in and around the asylum. And as we find out the events that led both Iris and Ambrose to Sanibel Asylum, we also learn about the other characters, and their stories are just as engaging. Everyone from the other asylum residents to the doctor and his son, everyone has a story.
Iris inspired me. If I were in her place, I don't know if I would have been as strong. I may have just given up. Knowing, as a woman, that her cruel husband's word meant more than hers and that the doctor didn't believe a word she said, she still found a way to not lose herself. She used the only thing she had – her brain – to save herself.
A truly gripping, emotional story set in the south during the Civil War. I read it in a day. For a short book it packed quite a punch.