It is very shocking to discover how little it took to have a woman "put away" in pre-World War II Britain. A husband could be rid of a "disobedient" wife; families could send away and forget about "unruly" daughters; anything inconvenient or "different" could be swept under the carpet and forgotten about--all you needed was one little signature from your local GP. As shocking as this book is, it is also very amazing that Esme kept as much of her spirit as she did. So many women who weren't really mad when first locked away soon lost hope and gave up--even to the point of succumbing to the madness they were initially (and wrongly) accused of.
This was an incredibly fast read. There was a bit of stream of consciousness going on (and we all know how much I love that), but it didn't distract from the story. I was totally caught up in the past and trying to figure out what exactly happened. The ending is a bit shocking as well--but my only quibble with that is the way we're left dangling. A little bit more tidiness would have been more satisfying. But overall--a terrific read. Four and a half stars.
[Another title read primarily for the Take a Chance 3 Challenge. This time for #7 What Should I Read Next? This one was suggested when I entered The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.]