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Sunday, November 6, 2022


When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant's father dies, he leaves to her the care of an adult ward she knew nothing about. The woman is supposedly a patient at Hurstwell Asylum. The woman's portrait is shockingly familiar to Vivienne, so when the asylum claims she was never a patient there, Vivienne is compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams.

The longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers at Hurstwell, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. She hears music no one else does, receives strange missives with rose petals between the pages, and untangles far more than is safe for her to know. But can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks? And is there anyone at Hurstwell she can trust with her suspicions?

Fan-favorite Joanna Davidson Politano casts a delightful spell with this lyrical look into the nature of women's independence and artistic expression during the Victorian era--and now.


This book is one that took me a bit to get into. At first it was confusing and I was trying to figure out why Vivienne was looking for a woman at Hurstwell Asylum. When she decides to take a job there I began to understand that she needed to find this person. The author describes the place with eerie and precise words. Voices screaming in the night and darkness surrounding the hopeless. 

Vivienne  takes a big risk working at the asylum to get answers but suddenly things start to fall apart. She doesn’t know who to trust and she somehow becomes a patient there. Someone doesn’t want her to learn the truth and will do anything to stop her, including making it look like she is unstable. The author goes deep into a place where many never escape and I began to be fully invested in Vivienne. I liked her determination and how she believed that God would save her. Into the depths of despair Vivienne tumbles as she is tortured and I began to wonder if she was really who she says she is. The author cleverly gives readers doubts about our main character as the mystery grows darker. 

When the one person Vivienne thinks that she can count on, turns his back on her hopelessness settles in. Richard was suppose to save her and set her free from  this place of darkness and abandonment. As Richard walks away the nurse tells Vivianne, “Sometimes people who love us do what we need them to do, not what we want.”  That statement made me think of those who have had to make difficult decisions for family members and how that burden weighed them down. 

The story has many twists that kept me intrigued and I loved the way the author illustrated how we can come out of darkness to the light to be saved. Within the pages were hope that freedom would come for those who had been prisoners for so long. The music brought happiness and a sense of belonging for those who had been forgotten. Vivienne had long wondered what God wanted her to do with her life and in those moments where she was alone in a place where darkness surrounded her, she found her calling. It is a beautiful story that brings tears, brokenness and God’s light  to those who had faith. 

I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads Blogger Program. The review is my own opinion.

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, releases October 3 from Revell. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods and shares stories that move her at

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