by Joanna Davidson Politano
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?
What I Liked:
-Politano keeps you wondering throughout the novel whether or not you’re reading a reliable narrator, which keeps you wondering how the story will shape up.
-Politano writes with a slight lyricalness to her prose, which is fitting for this story.
-The asylum setting managed to be both slightly creepy and saddening at the same time–in a good way if that makes sense.
What I Struggled With:
-The Rosamund plot element, while needed as a catalyst for the story, felt a little awkward at times once Vivviane was at the asylum.
– SLIGHT SPOILER: I’m not sure I 100% understand why they pretended that Vivviane (as Cora) was insane to actually get her locked up at the asylum. Yes, they wanted her to stay when she wanted to leave, but they really didn’t think that things would get out of hand?
I find musical therapy super neat, so reading about its origins was super cool. And I feel like Victorian asylums aren’t often explored in books. So the combination of the two created a fun read.
Cautions: light romance; three kisses *
*As you might expect since the story takes place in an asylum, The Lost Melody has some heavier themes in it, such as mental illness and abuse