It's not the heroine, Iris who tried to save a slave from being whipped, tried to save a baby and ran away with the entire population of slaves from her husband and their overseer...No, she was pretty amazing.
Blue Asylum is about an insane asylum on an island during the Civil war. This is a time when men could toss their wives in the looney bin for being a suffragette. And it seems, in this asylum, everyone is nuts but Iris.
The man she loves has PTS from a experience he went through in the war. There's a woman who eats everything. I think one of my favorite scenes was when she offered Iris a ring back, shiny as new, after having swallowed it a few days before. LMAO. The matron has a control and abusive issue, tearing up beds and demanding they be remade over and over. The doctor's wife is a sniveling ninny. The doctor's son has an obsession with fondling himself and masturbation. The doctor thinks he is in love with Iris.
Everyone but Iris is nuts. And the chef.. he seemed sane.
What I really liked about this, (besides Iris), was how the book raises the question..."You think you know it all, but do you? Who really has the problem here?"
"There's a woman in this asylum, Doctor, who never says a word. Who merely claps in delight at anything spoken to her. And I suspect that if I merely clapped at everything you said, I could clap my way to freedom."
The doctor is a pompous arse who needs to realize it, and his son needs help.
And all this unfolds with the Civil war in the background, and there's an escape plan and a surprising turn of events that I didn't predict. I also really loved the woman who refused to be widowed.. That was just too sweet.
What I didn't like: I'm not big on descriptions. Most reviewers seemed to love the descriptions. Me, I grow bored with that and want it to get on with the story. I don't have trouble visualizing an island. Nor did I care much for the son and his fondling/masturbation problems or his memories of Penelope. I didn't see how that added to the tale, really. And the romance... I didn't feel the love.