Arich blend of suspense, social history, and passion, Megan Chance delivers a powerfully written page- turner about a woman's desperate struggle to escape the confines of her time, class, and gender.
Young Mrs. Lucy Carleton is the daughter of one of the oldest and wealthiest families in 1880s New York City. William Carleton is Lucy's un-pedigreed, nouveau riche husband. Problems arise when Lucy becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the prudish manners and paternalistic dependencies that define the wives of New York society. Lucy longs to break away and give free rein to her more bohemian soul, but her ambitious husband and domineering father are determined that she learn to conform to the mores of her social circle. Enter Dr. Victor Seth, the controversial and pioneering neurologist whom William hires to try to "cure" Lucy of her perceived "nervous disorder." Seth's groundbreaking methods of hypnosis lead Lucy to unforeseen and shocking experiences and set readers on a path through one of the most riveting works of historical fiction in recent memory.
In this gripping historical, Chance (Susannah Morrow) exposes the horrors women faced in late 19th-century New York when they dared to show passion of any kind or repudiate society's norms. Highborn Lucy Carelton suffers from a common female disorder, "hysteria": its symptoms are headaches, excitable reactions and feelings of claustrophobia. Her cold-hearted, nouveau riche husband, William, determined to find her a cure, brings her to several specialists, who recommend everything from an ovariotomy to several months of confinement in a private asylum. At their wits' ends, the Careltons come to the renowned Dr. Victor Seth, a controversial specialist in the new field of neurology, who uses a combination of hypnosis and electrotherapy to cure his patients. Chance ratchets up the tension when Victor and Lucy's patient/doctor relationship crosses the line into something more intimate and intriguing, as Lucy's horrifying childhood and loveless marriage are brought to light in her therapy. The author showcases the class prejudices inherent in New York's high society in the 1880s and aptly depicts the stifling life a woman had to accept. It becomes clear that the healthier and more independent Lucy is, the more threatened and alienated her husband becomes, and the resulting fallout is catastrophic. The role of the unconscious mind and its impact on conscious behavior is explored in depth here, and Chance ends this lightning-paced narrative with a clever twist underscoring the risks one woman takes to be her own person.
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1 . Loved this book!
Posted December 26, 2010 by hjennette , Rochester, NYThis was a great read! A little slow at parts and yes, predictable at the end, but overall very entertaining - for anyone who enjoys historical fiction/romance. Chance is a good writer and I look forward to reading more of her work.
Grand Central Publishing
December 27, 2005
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