The Painted Bridge Paperback – 30 Apr 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, intermingled with the ever-present horror of the reality of women's minimal rights in the 19th century' Publishers Weekly
'The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace is a soft, intricate and languid novel with a twist in the tale. This is a mesmerising first novel...' Red
'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
'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, Richard & Judy bestselling author of A Gathering Storm
'An impressive debut with a captivating heroine and an absorbing storyline. A compulsive page-turner' --Catharine Arnold, author of Bedlam
'An emotionally charged gothic tale that will appeal to fans of the Victorian novels of Sarah Waters. Bella
'Gripping debut'Woman & Home --Woman & Home --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Wendy Wallace is an award-winning freelance journalist and writer based in London, whose articles have appeared in the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Scotsman. This is her first novel.
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Top Customer Reviews
For me, story telling is all about the suspension of disbelief. I want to lose myself in a story. I want to see what the characters see, feel what they feel, be worried for them and hope for them. The Painted Bridge achieved this for me. Wallace's writing is intelligent and lyrical. She skilfully weaves historical detail throughout the narrative but the story is never bogged down by too much information. The characters take centre stage, most especially Anna, a young woman with a strong will and a keen sense of what's right and fair. Anna hopes to find an ally in Lucas St Clair, a visiting physician who believes that the new medium of photography may reveal the state of a patient's mind. As he says, `photography is the art of truth not of advertisement', and Anna hopes he will see her for who she is - a woman perfectly in control of her sanity who has been wronged by her husband.
But as the story unfolds, the intrigue deepens and Anna begins to discover her own truth, to understand her dreams and unveil her visions. She also learns the truth about the man she married, her husband Vincent, an odious character who acts out of self-interest and arrogance.
The Painted Bridge is a great read. It reminded me of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - a plot that grips, vibrant characters and a sense of place that evokes London as both grimy and idyllic, imprisoning and freeing, depending on circumstance.
Anna has been committed to Lake House, a place of rest for genteel ladies by her thoroughly unpleasant husband Vincent, a vicar who is hiding his cold and despicable personality behind his dog collar. Powerless to do anything when she realises Lake House is an asylum in disguise, Anna searches for ways to escape, but this comes with dragging days in which she feels completely isolated from the world apart from her wiry attendant Martha Lovely and the other lady inmates. The question is of course - are they really mad or has Lake House made them that way.
A very good first book with the plot and characters nicely portrayed, all in all an excellent read for those interested in Victorian fiction.
A woman was suspended, upside-down, and a young man was taking her photograph. He was a doctor, and his hypothesis was that the picture he took of her face would reveal the secrets within her mind.
It's not just striking, it's very clever and its beautifully executed. My expectations were cleverly shifted and questions about what was really happening filled my head. I was entranced.
A carriage pulled up outside. Mrs Anna Palmer, the young wife of an elderly clergyman arrived. She thought she had come to meet friends of her husband, but she was wrong. She had been very cleverly tricked, and she found herself incarcerated in Lake House, a private asylum for gentlewomen.
First she was astonished and then she was outraged. But she was utterly trapped. By the power of a cruel husband, by the strictures of Victorian society, and by her own nature.
Anna had spirit, she had a calling, but she found that to be taken as proof of madness. I must confess that I had doubts, I questioned her sanity. The line between vocation and obsession, sanity and insanity, can be so very fine...
But I cared. I knew that Anna did not belong at Lake House. I wondered how important sanity was, and indeed what it was.
Anna found friends. Dr St Clair was young and idealistic. Talitha Blatt seemed as same as Anna. Catherine Abse was a bright young woman. But one was an employee, one was an inmate. one was the daughter of the house. All constrained in different ways. They could give some help, some support, but the could not give Anna her freedom.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Painted Bridge supplies the reader with more of an emotional and symbolic view that lies heavily on the poetic messages of: love, hope, courage, faith, religion, and family. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Elspeth G. Perkin
A pleasant enough read considering the theme of asylums and insanity but into long descriptive sections which took the edge off the plotPublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Absolutly fab read!! Highly recommend it couldn't put it down very well written. I picked it up second hand and will be passing it on looking forward to reading her other books!!👍🏻Published 10 months ago by Mrs. Lisa Greenhill-sayers
A wonderful story covering a tragic topic of life in a victorian asylum for women. Thankfully the system has long gone when women were admitted from problematic marriages, tricked... Read morePublished 10 months ago by ThePaiges
Anna Palmer, newly (and unhappily) married to vicar Vincent Palmer, accompanies her husband on what she thinks is an afternoon visit to 'friends in the country'. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Kate Hopkins
I would sooner read about a more cheerful topic. I did not find it very convincing.Published 18 months ago by Mary T
Its sinister, compelling, understanding and simply a brilliant novel. Takes you back to Victorian London were any man could admit his wife to an institution ! Read morePublished 19 months ago by demi
Disturbing and depressing - couldn't read chunks of it because it relentlessly described a ghastly situation of what amounted to false imprisonment and occasional torture. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Margot S