Review: The Painted Bridge / by Madeleine

{on Goodreads}
The Painted Bridge is the story of Lake House, just one of the private asylums scattered across London in the mid-nineteenth century. In a time when women were committed for maladies like "hysteria," Lake House operates on the premise of bettering women with treatments that are far from proven. Anna, a newlywed, is committed to Lake House by her new husband, after she foolishly tells him of a vision that plagues her. Anna knows that she is completely sane, and spends her time at the asylum plotting her escape and sympathizing with the other patients. While there, she also meets a doctor who believes that the new science of photography can help to reveal the true diagnoses of the patients at Lake House. The longer she stays at Lake House, the weaker her grip on her sanity, and the more desperate her plans for escape. When she befriends the daughter of Lake House's lead doctor and proprietor, Anna finds an opportunity for her freedom. As she fights to convince the outside world that she's sane, Anna finds that her passive acceptance of her former life's path has only given her more cause for misery. A growing sense of determination leads Anna to drastically alter her own circumstances while also shedding light on the lives of those around her. 

I am particularly smitten with stories in the modern gothic genre, so this made it onto my currently coveting list for February. Although I liked the book, I didn't fall head-over-heels for it. I liked that Anna was a strong character in a time when women had so little control over her life, and after reading Miramont's Ghost, I was glad to read an ending that wasn't quite so tragic. I think my biggest problem with the story was that the characters I wasn't supposed to like, I really didn't like, and the characters that were supposed be more appealing were not super attractive to me. I wished that some of the relationships were more hashed out, as I felt that the book could have been much more dramatic in the way that the characters related to each other. I tried to think of some of the "big picture" questions that this book brought up for me, but a week after reading it, I didn't have much to reflect on. That being said, I did find it to be a quick and relatively enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to other fans of the genre. {Here's another book in the same genre by an author that I love.}

Bottom Line Rating: 3/5

Title: The Painted Bridge
Author: Wendy Wallace
Publisher: Scribner, 2012
Price: I purchased a used copy for only $3.98
Format: Hardcover
Source: Better World Books