Audiobook Review: The Asylum

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This isn’t going to be my most lovingly-written review, unfortunately. I’ll apologize upfront for that. Perhaps it was read at not the right time, however, can that really be? That seems an ill-fitting excuse, for the description and ability to have it read in audio by Rosalyn Landor certainly held great appeal. I had also previously read The Séance by John Harwood so was definitely intrigued when I saw his new gothic suspense was available.

Unfortunately, and right from the start, The Asylum was a suffering bore and bordered on the absurdly predictable. The lead character, Georgina Ferrars, also bordered on the ridiculous. She was ridiculous in her complete callowness and by the background story presented as to how she came to find herself locked away in the Tregannon House, a private asylum in England. The teaser of hidden family ties and secrets were not thrilling at all. Again, Georgina’s naivete was more like complete stupidity. I fought with myself often to stop the deep sighing and eye-rolling committed when bit by bit the mystery was being unveiled.

What I thought would be a delicious tale of  injustice put on Georgina in the asylum and the reasons discovered as to why/how she became locked away in the first place, fell seriously and completely flat on its face. The first part of the story was insufferable in its droning on of irrelevant descriptions and background information. At first I chalked it up to Rosalyn Landor’s narration. I’m sorry for this Ms. Landor, as it became apparent half way through that this was not the case. I continued to listen to this story only because of Ms. Landor’s narration. She did a wonderful job, she had wonderful tone and she gave every one of the characters a perfectly suited voice. Alas, even a terrific narration could not get me to change my mind about The Asylum. :-(

I’ve given The Asylum 3-stars. That’s generous, I know, given my statements above, but if I were to consider the Literary Hoarder’s ranking on the right, it states “Good, recommend with reservations”, and that sounds about right.

Thank you to Blackstone Audio for providing a copy of The Asylum. This was read for the Solid Gold Reviewers program with Audiobook Jukebox.

Description of The Asylum:

A brilliant new Gothic thriller from the acclaimed author of The Ghost Writer and The Séance.

Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a private asylum in a remote corner of England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor Maynard Straker tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton the day before and then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.”

Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? And what has become of her two most precious possessions: a dragonfly pin left to her by her mother and a journal that contains the only record of those missing weeks? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes her from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends. (from Audible)