- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Scribner (July 17, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451660820
- ISBN-13: 978-1451660821
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Painted Bridge: A Novel Hardcover – July 17, 2012
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"A haunting look at women's asylums in 1850s England...Wallace masterfully creates an atmosphere of utter claustrophobia and dread." -Publishers Weekly
"An impressive debut with a captivating heroine and an absorbing storyline. A compulsive page-turner." -Catharine Arnold, author of Bedlam
"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
“Soft, intricate and languid with a twist in the tale. This is a mesmerizing first novel.” —Viv Groskop, Red magazine (U.K.)
About the Author
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.
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Showing 1-8 of 29 reviews
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Poor Anna gets dropped off after she comes back from trying to help at a charity. Vincent doesn't like this and carts her off. He has some secrets of his own as well.
These poor women are told they are crazy, given horrible torture treatments. Even though this book is fiction this has occurred in our history.
Anna finds some sweet friends in the asylum that have nothing wrong with their mental state either and they get along the best they can. No spoilers.
There is a physician named Lucas St. Clair that takes pictures of the patients, he thinks you can prove sanity through pictures. I'm not sure about all of this but I do know he is a nice person.
There are a few horrific people there of course, like the evil man that owns the place. He does have a sweet little girl named Catherine who is funny and precious. She becomes friends with Anna too. Catherine's mom is a nutter if you ask me.
There are a lot of different things that go on in the book, but I don't want to give all of that away. This is not a book with a lot of horror going on, it's more of telling the novel of these beautiful women. They do a few torture things to Anna, but she doesn't let them get her down.
In the end everything is as is should be, there are a couple of sad things, but for the most part everything happens for the good. I thought this book was a good read.
The events in the novel take place in an era when women were almost entirely subject to the domination of men. The inmates of the asylum, Lake House, consist entirely of women. However, these women are not presented as mere passive victims. Each finds a way of coping with the arbitrary tyranny of the asylum; Anna adopts an even more active resistance. She is punished for this insubordination in a manner that provides one of the most shocking scenes I have ever read in fiction.
The Painted Bridge offers of number of villains whom readers will love to hate. Aside from the obnoxious and hypocritical Vincent Palmer, there is the supremely incompetent and malicious administrative head of the asylum. Not only is he oblivious to the evils in the institution, he is also dismissive of the increasingly desperate unhappiness of his own daughter. Another villian is the rule enforcer, who is borderline psychotic. This is a chilling character who would have made a model matrol in a twentieth century concentration camp.
Although The Painted Bridge is not technically a thriller, it reads like one because the author is as skillful in building suspense as she is in portraying characters
This is a dark and exciting novel which I would strongly recommend to anyone.
The descriptions of the photography process was interesting, and all of the secondary characters were well drawn. I was amused by the fact that the daughter of the head of the asylum was a bit insane, herself, though her father wouldn't recognize it.
This book is a keeper, and one I plan to acquire in hardcover, and reread (I bought the Kindle version). I am really looking forward to any future novels by Wendy Wallace, historical fiction, or not.
There is now a sequel to this book...