6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A stunning novel,
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This review is from: The Painted Bridge (Kindle Edition)
I loved the Painted Bridge. Wendy Wallace paints such a vivid picture of wronged women - in particular the troubled heroine Anna - weaving into the story meticulous period detail and haunting description. You are gripped from the start. Anna is tricked into incarceration at Lake House for "a cure and rest" by her scheming husband. The author writes so evocatively that you want to break open the window that is nailed shut allowing just a whiff of fresh air into her tiny bedroom. You can almost smell the stale food, hear the moans and confusion of her fellow inmates against a background of the ticking clock; feel the tedium of empty day passing after empty day. She experiences lack of comprehension, indifference and cruelty (some of which is deeply shocking). But she is also the beneficiary of warm understanding from some to whom she is entrusted which opens up her own heart. To say more would spoil a brilliant read. Anna reluctantly comes to know her fellow inmates - some of whom have been locked up for nothing more than post natal depression, having an illicit affair or just being "different" - and share their secrets, hopes and fears. The plot twists and turns and all the while you are fascinated by the story being told. Nothing escapes the author's eye; fashion, social structures, domestic life, medicine, psychiatry and photography all come under her illuminating microscope. Men are not dismissed out of turn which makes this book even more sympathetic. They are weighed down by financial responsibilities, penned in by cultural expectations. In the 1850s no one can run free without paying a high price. This is a truly wonderful book.