The Painted Bridge: Book summary and reviews of The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace

The Painted Bridge

A Novel

by Wendy Wallace

The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace X
The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2012
    304 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

An elegant, emotionally suspenseful debut, The Painted Bridge is a story of family betrayals, illicit power, and a woman sent to an asylum against her will in Victorian England.

Just outside London, behind a high stone wall, lies Lake House, a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature. In the winter of 1859, Anna Palmer becomes its newest patient. To Anna's dismay, her new husband has declared her in need of treatment and brought her to this shabby asylum.

Confused and angry, Anna sets out to prove her sanity, but with her husband and doctors unwilling to listen, her freedom will not be won easily. As the weeks pass, she finds other allies: a visiting physician who believes the new medium of photography may reveal the state of a patient's mind; a longtime patient named Talitha Batt who seems, to Anna's surprise, to be as sane as she is; and the proprietor's bookish daughter, who also yearns to escape.

Yet the longer Anna remains at Lake House, the more she realizes that - like the ethereal bridge over the asylum's lake - nothing and no one is quite as it appears. Not her fellow patients, her husband, her family - not even herself.

Locked alone in her room, driven by the cruel treatments of the time into the recesses of her own mind, she may discover the answers and the freedom she seeks… or how thin the line between madness and sanity truly is.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Wallace masterfully creates an atmosphere of utter claustrophobia and dread, intermingled with the ever-present horror of the reality of women's minimal rights in the 19th century." - Publishers Weekly

"Melodrama that borders on over-ripeness but that can be quite delicious." - Kirkus Reviews

"I was gripped by this fantastic book. Chilling, heart-warming, very well written and researched, this is an unusual novel about Victorian England." -Rosie Boycott, author of A Nice Girl Like Me and Our Farm

"The Painted Bridge is something special: an intriguing and disturbing tale of the reality of women's lives behind the veil of Victorian respectability, which will have resonance today. Beautifully written and evoked." -Rachel Hore, bestselling author of A Gathering Storm

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Author Information

Wendy Wallace

Wendy Wallace is an award-winning freelance journalist, short story writer, and author of two nonfiction books. She is a former senior features writer for the Times Educational Supplement and in 2001 she was named Education Journalist of the Year. Her journalism has appeared in The Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Scotsman. She lives in London. Visit her online at www.wendywallace.co.uk.

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