In the midst of the American Civil War, a southern plantation owner's wife is arrested by her husband and declared insane for seeking justice for his slaves. She is sent to an island mental asylum to come to terms with her wrongdoing, but instead finds love and escape with a war-haunted Confederate soldier
Hepinstall (The Absence of Nectar) exquisitely illustrates the fate of societal outsiders in this richly compelling Civil War-era tale of the former mistress of a Virginia plantation, now confined to a beautiful island asylum, and her burgeoning love for a traumatized Confederate soldier. Deemed insane by a judge after defying her husband, Iris Dunleavy insists to the well-meaning but arrogant doctor of Sanibel Asylum, Dr. Henry Cowell, that she is sane. Meanwhile, veteran Ambrose Weller fights to maintain control of his war-torn emotions. As the horrors of Iris and Ambrose's pasts are slowly revealed, both Dr. Cowell and his alienated young son, Wendell, are irresistibly drawn to Iris, even as she plans her escape and wrestles with her love of Ambrose. Deftly interweaving past and present, Hepinstall sets the struggles of her characters against the rigidity of a traditional Southern society and the brutality of war in an absorbing story that explores both the rewards and perils of love, pride, and sanity itself. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
April 09, 2012
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