• The Asylum

  • By: John Harwood
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 05-21-13
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.7 (244 ratings)

Regular price: $20.97

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Publisher's Summary

A brilliant new Gothic thriller from the acclaimed author of The Ghost Writer and The Séance.
Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a private asylum in a remote corner of England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor Maynard Straker tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton the day before and then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: "Your patient must be an imposter."
Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? And what has become of her two most precious possessions: a dragonfly pin left to her by her mother and a journal that contains the only record of those missing weeks? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes her from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.
Here is another delicious read from the author praised by Ruth Rendell as having "a gift for creating suspense, apparently effortlessly, as if it belongs in the nature of fiction."
©2013 John Harwood (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Creepy doings - certificates of insanity, switched identities, morbid personalities - in and around an asylum in 19th-century England… Harwood certainly makes the atmosphere work here." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Engrossing… The crisp prose and twisty plot will encourage many to read this in one sitting." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Harwood, master of creeping Victorian horror, does it again in his latest tale of pervasive evil and madness.… Twisted in every sense of the word and wonderfully atmospheric, this dark psychological tale shocks by degree until truth of a sort is revealed, in a style similar to that of Joanne Harris’  Sleep, Pale Sister and D. J. Taylor’s  Kept." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tracey Rains on 06-03-13


This book is different from my usual cup of tea, so I hesitated a bit before purchasing it. I was afraid it might be too formulaic to be enjoyable, but this has been one of my favorite audiobooks in some time. First, it is very atmospheric; I was immediately drawn into this world. Harwood created a main character to whom I was immediately drawn. Much of the story is told through flashbacks, but the narrative switches between the present and past so skillfully that transitions are seamless. As I listened, I always had questions that made me find just a few more minutes to listen a little more. The suspense isn't driven by violence and mayhem, but of situations with "something" just a bit off kilter, or the promise of information just around the bend. I don't want to say much about the plot because each new element of the plot reveals something that you've been wondering about. If you read the publisher's summary on the book's page, it gives you a decent enough feel for the book; just know that this story is very well crafted.

If you're considering this book, go ahead, you won't be disappointed. The writer is talented; Rosalyn Landor does her usual outstanding job; and the overall result is an experience that I am very glad I did not miss.

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20 of 20 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Natalie on 03-29-14

Good listen, but not gripping

It took a couple of tries to get into this one, and I really didn't get absorbed into the story until well into the second-half of the book. The gothic aura of the book is very well done, and the pervasive sense of impending doom does pervade the story in undercurrents, but it was tedious at times. The underlying question of her sanity is well balanced to make me wonder at times which way it was going to go. The narration was good.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By barjil on 05-27-13

A cracking Gothic yarn!

I have raced through this book and am now sorry I've finished it. It has overtones of Wilkie Collins but maybe that's because it's set in the 19th century and the asylum reminded me of 'The Woman in White' - this is far more exciting, though.

The reader has a very refined voice which may irritate some people but it goes very well with the story and she's able to use it to voice the different characters. I looked for other books by John Harwood but this seems to be the only one.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Louisa on 07-07-13

A real treat

It's a real treat to find John Harwood in audio. His last book, The Seance appeared on audible for a nanosecond and then was withdrawn. Harwood tells deliberately gothic tales - but they are always very gripping and a very good read or listen. Rosalyn Landor's reading is good and she manages to give the characters the right personalities from the start. There is not much more to say about the story than you'll find in the blurb and one doesn't want to give any of the plot away so suffice it to say that it's an excellent summer listen or a good one for a cosy bedtime. Enjoy!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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