Don't start reading this book if you have a bunch of important things to do. You won't get them done till you've read whole book.
The promise of feminist overtones against the backdrop of Victorian England, and a mental asylum, was what peaked my interest. I studied a little of the treatment of Victorian mental patients in Psychology but to read a book concerning the main character's unjust incarceration in an asylum was horrific. The hatred I felt for the characters responsible for the cruelty at the asylum, and for the ones responsible for sending Louisa to the asylum was scarily real. The unfairness of her situation had me so riled, I had to quickly read the end of the book to see if she had a happy ending (which I've never done before).
The story is relentlessly gripping, with the narrative switching between the present, where Louisa is at the asylum, and the past, where we are shown the events that led up to her incarceration. The author's prose was pleasant enough to read, though it is the plot and its characters that drive the novel and distract from anything else. It was not predictable; at first, I thought I had easily sussed out the person responsible for putting Louisa in the asylum, but I turned out to be wrong.
I recommend this book to all teenage girls, and to those who are older. A brilliant historical fiction.