The Grateful Author Supplements Her Own Review
January 28, 2012 § 34 Comments
Authors always say bad reviews don’t matter, even though one bad review can cause emotional devastation for years.
Me: My mother used to lock me in the closet with a rat and a domino. Also, Kirkus Reviews called The Absence of Nectar “dank.”
Psychiatrist: That last thing must have left you pretty twisted.
But today it is my great joy to share Publisher’s Weekly’s very generous review of my upcoming novel, Blue Asylum (April 10 2012). In fact, I could not resist supplementary notes in blue. Thank you Publisher’s Weekly! Oprah are you seeing this? No? Okay just checking.
Hepinstall (The Absence of Nectar, and various failed relationships) exquisitely illustrates the fate of societal outsiders like herself in this richly compelling Civil War–era tale of the former mistress of a Virginia plantation,now confined to a beautiful island insane asylum, and her burgeoning love for a traumatized Confederate soldier who was hospitalized for exhaustion like Lindsey Lohan. Deemed insane by a judge after defying her husband and clinging to her sad delusion that Oprah created the Milky Way, Iris Dunleavy insists to the well-meaning but arrogant doctor of Sanibel Asylum, Dr. Phil McGraw, that she is sane. Meanwhile, veteran Ambrose Weller fights to maintain control of his war-torn emotions. As the horrors of Iris and Ambrose’s pasts are slowly revealed, both the doctor and his alienated young son, Wendell, are irresistibly drawn to Iris, even as she plans her escape and wrestles with her love of Ambrose as well as with a large, burly, mud-covered nurse in one of those most sensual woman-on-woman scenes ever crafted in historical fiction. Deftly interweaving past and present, with pages torn from her own diary, Hepinstall sets the struggles of her characters against the rigidity of a traditional Southern society and the brutality of war in an absorbing story that explores both the rewards and perils of love, pride, having an annoying rabbit for a sister and sanity itself.