STOLEN SUMMERS – UPDATED WITH REVIEW!

MY REVIEW

Having read and enjoyed a previous book by this author, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home, I was very interested to see what would be revealed in this prequel.  Told entirely from the point of view of Matilda, the reader is given an inside glimpse not just of her life but also of the other voices and situations running wild in her mind. Frankly, some of the situations she experiences are so intense it is amazing that anything is left for her. I think this book can be read either before or after Matilda Windsor but definitely enriches the story of Matilda.

TODAY I have a special guest post today from the author, Anne Goodwin

Why explore twentieth-century psychiatric treatments in fiction?

The history of mental health care is littered with discarded treatments revealing the practitioners to be barely more rational than the patients. One fad that seduced me for a short time when I worked as a clinical psychologist in a long-stay psychiatric hospital was ‘earplug therapy’ for people who heard unwanted voices. Wacky as it seems, there was solid research to back it up … until there wasn’t.

At least blocking the ears, against a sound that was actually internally generated, did little harm, apart from raising false hopes of a cure. Other outmoded treatments, sometimes delivered without informed consent, seem like the stuff of horror movies, such as lobotomy, hailed as a miracle cure in the 1950s, then quietly retired.

Although I’ve studied the history of psychiatry, I discovered some of the weirder approaches through novels. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, based on author Joanne Greenberg’s own experience, introduced me to cold pack treatment, involving patients being tightly bound in cold wet sheets and left fastened to their beds for hours. 

I imagine I’d be traumatised if subjected to this procedure, but I doubt it was originally envisaged as torture. So, when I decided to include this in my novella, Stolen Summers, set in a psychiatric hospital in the late 1930s, I tried to present a balanced perspective. While my protagonist, Matilda, feels terrified, trussed up like an Egyptian mummy, her friend, Doris, feels soothed as a swaddled baby.

In planning my novella, I was more interested in how the women coped with their incarceration than sensationalising the Victorian asylum. I write about the darkness that haunts me, but my fiction is primarily led by my characters and the relationships between them. Despite their very different backgrounds and personalities, Matilda and Doris develop a strong bond. But, if not for their unjust confinement, they might never have met.

I wanted to explore how kindness can emerge in the darkest places but also to highlight how those with power over vulnerable people will sometimes abuse it. Although the asylums are long gone, some of those negative attitudes towards people whose thought patterns and behaviours are different still survive. Today, on World Mental Health Day, it seems especially important to remember the mistakes of the past in order not to repeat them. If you like a good read and you care about combating stigma, why not give Stolen Summers a chance?

Stolen Summers: A heartbreaking tale of betrayal, confinement and dreams of escape

All she has left is her sanity. Will the asylum take that from her too?

In 1939, Matilda is admitted to Ghyllside hospital, cut off from family and friends. Not quite twenty, and forced to give up her baby for adoption, she feels battered by the cruel regime. Yet she finds a surprising ally in rough-edged Doris, who risks harsh punishments to help her reach out to the brother she left behind.

Twenty-five years later, the rules have relaxed, and the women are free to leave. How will they cope in a world transformed in their absence? Do greater dangers await them outside?

The poignant prequel to Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home is a tragic yet tender story of a woman robbed of her future who summons the strength to survive.

STOLEN SUMMERS

Blurb
Stolen Summers: A heartbreaking tale of betrayal, confinement and dreams of escape
All she has left is her sanity. Will the asylum take that from her too?
In 1939, Matilda is admitted to Ghyllside hospital, cut off from family and friends. Not quite twenty,
and forced to give up her baby for adoption, she feels battered by the cruel regime. Yet she finds a
surprising ally in rough-edged Doris, who risks harsh punishments to help her reach out to the
brother she left behind.

Twenty-five years later, the rules have relaxed, and the women are free to leave. How will they cope
in a world transformed in their absence? Do greater dangers await them outside?
The poignant prequel to Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home is a tragic yet tender story of a woman
robbed of her future who summons the strength to survive.


https://annegoodwin.weebly.com/stolen-summers.html

Author bio

Anne Goodwin’s drive to understand what makes people tick led to a career in clinical psychology.
That same curiosity now powers her fiction.

Anne writes about the darkness that haunts her and is wary of artificial light. She makes stuff up to
tell the truth about adversity, creating characters to care about and stories to make you think. She
explores identity, mental health and social justice with compassion, humour and hope.

An award-winning short-story writer, she has published three novels and a short story collection
with small independent press, Inspired Quill. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for
the 2016 Polari First Book Prize.

Away from her desk, Anne guides book-loving walkers through the Derbyshire landscape that
inspired Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

Subscribers to her newsletter can download a free e-book of award-winning short stories.

Author social media

Twitter @Annecdotist
Link tree https://linktr.ee/annecdotist
Facebook Annecdotist
Instagram authorannegoodwin
Amazon and other ebook purchase links
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BFJH1VL8
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BFJH1VL8
CAN: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0BFJH1VL8
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stolen-summers-anne-
goodwin/1142368996?ean=2940166564122

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s