The winter is really setting in here in Christchurch, NZ and I'm between semesters in study so I making the most of adding more reading time to my life.
I recently finished reading The Key by Kathryn Hughes.
The novel flicks between two time periods - 1956 in the Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum and 2006 where Sarah is exploring the past of what is now an abandoned old building - the same Ambergate from the previous period.
The book is clearly well researched and told from a storyteller who has the ability to grasp the small details that make a setting come to life. In 1956 Ellen is a student nurse with minimal training and a desire to do good. Her placement at the asylum is supremely challenging. She has compassion for the patients and especially those for whom the asylum has become a way of dealing with troubled family members.
As the time there unfolds it is clear that there are lines that are being crossed by patients and caregivers...
Meanwhile in 2006 Sarah makes a discovery that will lead to more information and more questions than she could dream of. Will she follow them all the way to their conclusion and what impact will that have on her life and the illusions that surround it?
At one point I was a bit worried that the nature of treatments doled out to patients would become too intense for me to read but in the end I'm glad I persevered and they didn't go too far in a direction I was worried about. It is a harrowing read in places because these are real things that happened to real people.
It reminds me of the richness our world has in its diversity and how powerful the desire to make everyone behave in certain ways can be - and the damage it does to humanity when those impulses are given free reign.
Details - Hachette NZ, April 2018, RRP $29.99
love you more than a sandwich shared by strangers xxx