The Painted Bridge

The Painted Bridge

A Novel

Book - 2012
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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 is determined to prove her sanity, but with her husband and doctors unwilling to listen, her freedom will notbe easily won. 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 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.

Wendy Wallace's taut, elegantly crafted first novel, The Painted Bridge, i s a s tory o f f amily betrayals and illicit power; it is also a compelling portrait of the startling history of the psychiatric field and the treatment of women-- in society and in these institutions. Wallace sets these ideas and her characters on the page beautifully, telling a riveting story that is surprising and deeply moving.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2012
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781451660821
Branch Call Number: F WAL NVD
Characteristics: 291 p. ; 24 cm


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multcolib_susannel Apr 18, 2015

Can photographs be used to diagnose your sanity? Can your husband put you in an assylum and keep you there even though you aren't crazy? Once there can you espcape again?

Jun 26, 2014

I think her being placed into the asylum was unfair and that treatment with some doctor's appointments probably would of worked fine...but then there wouldn't be the story. I enjoyed the friend making and love interest, except for the fact that she is married.

Feb 28, 2014

Beautifully written account of the loss of a woman's freedom, forced to an asylum by her jerk pious husband. Confirms that often those in authority of such systems are the truly insane ones.

martins_mom Feb 23, 2014

The kind of book that makes you want to take someone (Anna's husband, for instance!) and throw him across the room. I was completely engrossed by this sad story.

Oct 23, 2013

slow. I lost interest part way through the book.

Jul 22, 2013

i enjoyed this book.
thank heavens that women's rights have come a long way in time. Though not yet for all women.

Jun 09, 2013

Anna has been forcefully taken from her home by a her husband who desires to be rid of her as he cannot understand her. Shouldn't she be a meek and mild wife? And shouldn't she be grateful to him for putting up with her moods? And yet Anna is only a normal woman who is trying to find love and intimacy in a time period that would not accept this in wives. Her persistence in denying the charges and enduring cruel and indifferent treatment by the staff, lead her to find the truth in her life and gain back her freedom after paying a high price. What a wonderful read!

Sep 16, 2012

I really liked this book : it raises questions about what is sanity and what is madness; the lack of women's rights at the time, what "treatments" were used on patients at the time... it was a very interesting read.

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