Written by John Harwood
Review by Anne Clinard Barnhill

When Georgina Ferrars awakens to find herself in Tregannon House, a private asylum in a remote corner of England, she has no memory of the past few weeks. Dr. Straker, the head physician at the institution, explains that when she was admitted the previous evening, she had told him her name was Lucy Ashton. He then tells her the reason she is so confused is that she has suffered a seizure and this great disturbance has caused her to lose her memory. However, she has a very strong sense of herself as Georgina Ferrars and, though she is in the hospital on a voluntary basis, she soon discovers the doors are locked.

The plot becomes more tangled when Dr. Straker wires Georgina’s uncle to see if she has gone missing. Surprisingly, he wires back to say that the real Georgina is with him. Who, then, is the woman in the asylum?

As Georgina struggles to remember her true nature, she meets the mysterious Frederick Mordaunt, owner of Tregannon House and also possessor of the genes of his insane ancestors. He was born there and his father went mad there. He seems to want to help Georgina, but can she trust him? Indeed, is there anyone in the madhouse she can trust?

This novel is redolent with a sense of foreboding and twists and turns with suspense as Georgina tries to unravel the mess in which she has found herself. Reminiscent of Dickens or even Henry James, this gothic tale will sweep you up into the very heart of Victorian England. A splendid read!