Oh, wow, I was impressed with this book. Two stories which turn out to be related, alternate. We open in a London insane asylum, 1844. In the middle of a scene remeniscent of the beginning of Amadeus, the artist Richard Dadd is painting the details of an insect's wing. Probably most Americans and people without an art history background have not heard of Dadd, but he was real and his work was fascinating. It's worth taking a look at some of his pictures on the web. He was put away for life after killing his father in the middle of a delusion (he was schizophrenic). Much of his best work was done while confined in mental hospitals. In present day London, art appraiser Catherine has been left by her husband Robert. In the course of her work, she meets John, who has a house full of art and collectibles and antiques. They begin a relationship that eventually leads back to Richard Dadd. The stories are well told, the descriptions are exquisite, and the author treats characters having major mental illnesses with sensitivity, although she also makes them realistic. One remarkable scene has Dadd being transferred from a hospital where he's been for 20 years to another institution outside London. It's his first time out and his first trip on a train. It's a Rip van Winkle kind of sensation; yet Dadd carefully notes every detail for future works because he knows he wont get the chance to see it again. This book is just so interesting and really a pleasure to read. I felt I learned quite a bit, and that's something for a novel. Highly recommended.