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Hughes doesn't shy away from depicting the true, visceral horrors of asylum life in the s and the reader is left in no doubt as to the diabolically, criminally unfair way in which psychiatric patients particularly women, of course were treated in days past. It's all tied up very neatly, if a little predictably, and there's plenty of nostalgia in the s strand.

It's all very Call The Midwife, and fans of that show will no doubt enjoy this. However, I found it all just a tad too predictable and lacking emotional punch, and the lacklustre, repetitive writing made the pages drag. Mildly diverting, but there are far better novels on this topic to be read. Feb 24, Nessa rated it really liked it Shelves: netgalley , historical-fiction.

Having read and loved Kathryn previous two books The Secret and The Secret, I literally couldn't wait to read this her latest book.

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday: Book Summary, Key Lessons and Best Quotes

Given the subject matter and how the story revolves around it so much, it tells you just how much research the author must have done, all of which definitely paid off. The author Kathryn has written a truly wonderful and heartfelt story, quite emotional in places. Right from the first page you are completely drawn in and then very much captivated througho Having read and loved Kathryn previous two books The Secret and The Secret, I literally couldn't wait to read this her latest book. Right from the first page you are completely drawn in and then very much captivated throughout, wanting to discover the secrets and going ons at Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum.

The characters so very well written, and I really felt sad and heartbroken for some of them. I especially loved the characters of Ellen and Dougie and how things ended for them. I loved how the story was told, in that you start in the present, then go back to the past and the back to the present and then how everything ultimately falls into place come the end. It really was great storytelling. Mar 07, Laura rated it really liked it Shelves: four-star. Having thoroughly enjoyed the authors previous two releases I could wait to get my hands on her newest read - and as ever, the story was captivating from page one.

The book is told via two different time lines and features more than one protagonist, but the structure and careful editing of the book ensures the reader is not lost in translation. This story shines a light on an important topic and simultaneously explores how mental healthcare was addressed in the mid twentieth century. Although we do not longer have asylums for the mentally ill and care in the community is now commonplace, there are still adjustments to be made to how mentally unwell people are treated.

The authors notes show how she has researched her subject matter and considered how this impacts her writing. Like her previous novels, the author is adept at creating emotion and her stories are always heartfelt. I will undoubtedly continue to read her books for hopefully a long time! Recommended for fans of historical fiction. Jun 15, Marianne rated it really liked it. In , while living with her recently widowed father, thirty-eight-year-old librarian Sarah Charlton makes daily visits to the now derelict Ambergate Hospital.

She is writing a history of the asylum because she feels it is important research, a story that needs to be told.

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While there, she has encountered an eighteen-year-old runaway, Nathan who seems willing, even eager to assist. Ellen felt a connection to this woman of her own age, incarcerated for what seemed to be no real reason. It was evident to Ellen that Amy was not in any way mad but, from her lowly position, she had no hope of influencing the sister in charge, let alone the resident psychiatrist, Dr Lambourn.

The depth of research that Hughes has done into practices commonly employed in mid-twentieth-century psychiatric institutions, many of which may leave the reader gasping, is apparent on every page. Hughes easily evokes the era, in particular with societal attitudes, but also with the general way of life portrayed. Her main characters develop from their initial somewhat flat typecast as their flaws and weaknesses, and their strengths, are revealed. Their dialogue is credible and the paths that their lives take is entirely believable.

Many readers will correctly guess part of the mystery, but the potential for an overly-contrived happily-ever-after ending is thankfully not realised in place of the more realistic conclusion that Hughes provides. An interesting and moving piece of historical fiction. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Hachette Australia.

Well, I love a great dual timeline story, and one with a subject matter that fascinates me is even better! You can see how much research the author has done and it shows how passionate she is about what she's writing. With that in mind, the book stands out. I struggled with Sarah, but it didn't stop the fascination I had for the book. Highly recommend it. Mar 05, Judy Collins rated it it was amazing Shelves: releases , audiobook , historical-fiction , books-read-in All of Kathryn Hughes' books are amazing!

She always lands on my top books of the year. Get the audiobook. Review to follow. Feb 11, Elaine rated it liked it. Still a good read though. Jun 30, Tracy Fenton rated it it was amazing. This is my third book by Kathryn Hughes and certainly not my last. The Key is utterly compelling and beautifully told through the eyes of Sarah in , a historian who is researching the abandoned Ambergate Asylum and Ellen Crosby who joined Ambergate as a Student Nurse in The dual timelines are cleverly i This is my third book by Kathryn Hughes and certainly not my last.

Amy certainly shone brightest for me as one of the main characters, a young girl who had a traumatic life and had been committed to the asylum indefinitely by her father.

She arrived on the same day as Student Nurse Ellen Crosby and therefore their lives became entwined with some heartbreaking results. I thoroughly recommend The Key to anyone who is looking for a beautifully constructed novel with plausible characters and a story line guaranteed to make your heart break and soar. Mar 31, Jayne Catherine pinkett rated it it was amazing Shelves: purchase-new , mmm I think this book deserves a much more enticing cover and more hype. It is a book that I won't forget for the rest of my life. As a young Pre nursing student my first placement was in a very large institutionalised Psychiatric hospital and I gasped out loud as this took me right back to my time there in a full twenty years after this book covers.

Very little had changed to how life was portrayed in Ambergate.

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Asylums had been abolished but goodness me the degradation,the violence,the los Wow. Asylums had been abolished but goodness me the degradation,the violence,the loss of human rights certainly hadn't. This placement certainly had a big impact on my career and what spurred me on to get to a position to make changes for the better. This book made me cry so much for the injustice done to people who suffered any sign of mental I'll health and certainly for those poor humans who were locked away due to bereavement, pregnancy, un married motherhood,homosexuals and illiteracy.

This follows a split time narratives with Amy in and Sarah in Amber gate Hospital the scene of this beautifully executed book and the memorable array of characters that you cannot help but be invested in. This wasn't in the dark ages,this is healthcare in my lifetime and everyone should read this story and breathe a sigh of relief for all the fantastic changes in both medical and psychological support for sufferers of mental health problems. Also thank goodness for better human rights.

It isn't all doom and gloom, there are tender moments and a mystery to the plot which reaches a satisfying ending. Can't wait to read more from this author. Mar 21, Angela Smith rated it really liked it Shelves: historical , chick-lit , general-fiction , mental-health. This is the second Kathryn Hughes novel I have read and I really enjoyed it.

The Key to Arabic Book Two, Lesson Six

The book is set in two time frames. It begins in with a suicide attempt by a woman with a baby and then it moves to where a woman is doing research on Ambergate Lunatic Asylum for a book. While looking around the old asylum she finds a collection of suitcases with patients belongings in. After that the story mostly moves back to with a young student nurse starting work at the Ambergate Asylum Ellen Crosb This is the second Kathryn Hughes novel I have read and I really enjoyed it.

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After that the story mostly moves back to with a young student nurse starting work at the Ambergate Asylum Ellen Crosby Ellen is trying to make a difference and treat the patients as human beings which doesn't always go down well with some of the older staff. The tragedy of the place is people who ending up spending their lives there and didn't really need to be there and if they weren't mad when they went in they were eventually driven mad by circumstance. Amy is a young girl, the same age as Ellen who ends up an inmate at Ambergate.


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Her circumstances are unhappy ones and although she has issues she doesn't feel she deserves to be in there and tries to tell anyone who would listen. Cast off by her father, she has nowhere else to go and couldn't if she wanted to. There are other things that happen which I can't mention as there would be no point in reading the book for yourself, but Kathryn Hughes has produced another riveting story and I read this one in record speed I think as I had trouble putting it down.

Jul 09, Lisa M rated it it was amazing. What a story. Once again a book that had me blinking back tears in the final pages. It was inherently sad and so I don't think it was possible to have a 'happy' ending but it was very fitting and solidified the 5 star rating.

Set in an asylum in the 's it was depressing to read about what I've no doubt life inside entailed for the residents - some of whom were there for the most innocent of things. Amy's story had me captivated from start to finish and I loved the information the What a story. Amy's story had me captivated from start to finish and I loved the information the author included once the story was finished about it being based on a true story, I will certainly be looking into the websites provided for further details.

This was a real gem that I'd highly recommend. I did enjoy coming back to it each night, and the story based on a real asylum was compelling and disturbing as it should be. But upon reflection, the characters were not quite exposed or complex enough for me to really sink my teeth into it and feel like I REALLY cared for them.

But her nurse Ellen was so caring in the 50's, then seems once she met her man- she go 3. But her nurse Ellen was so caring in the 50's, then seems once she met her man- she got just enough amnesia to turn her back on the woman she had fought so boldly to protect despite the rules and general cruelty for the mentally ill 60 years ago.

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There were repetitious parts as well that made it drag just a bit. I don't know, I seem to be in the minority- but I just felt a bit let down after finishing it. View 1 comment. Nov 07, Susan Watts rated it it was amazing.