My spotlight book is Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall. Never heard of her? Well, that’s okay.
Up until one year ago, I had not either.
I happened upon a signed copy The Absence of Nectar. The novel accompanied me to the beach. I am shamed to say that I actually allowed a signed first edition first printing book of mine to get a little wet. But it was that good! And now the book has a little story attached to it that I will always remember when I pick it up.
The Absence of Nectar (2001) is intriguing. A brother and sister decide to poison their mother’s new husband. He is an awful man who takes pleasure in his cruelty. Hepinstall adds to the story by introducing Percy Snow, a young girl who may or may not be crazy.
Hepinstall also wrote The House of Gentle Men (2000) and sets the novel in rural Louisiana during and after World War II. The title refers to men who have committed sins. To atone for them they must spend time with women who have been damaged.
Blue Asylum (2012) is Hepinstall’s newest novel. Iris Dunleavy committed a terrible crime. A judge deemed her insane, despite Iris’s protests. She is put in an asylum on Sanibel Island. Is she crazy? Or is this her husband’s punishment? Just what did she do? This may be my favorite so far of Hepinstall’s, and that is really saying something for me, especially considering how much I adored and devoured The Absence of Nectar.
I will be reviewing Blue Asylum this week. Be sure to watch for it.