TITLE: From Daylight to Madness (The Hotel #1)
AUTHOR: Jennifer Anne Gordon
RELEASE DATE: August 20, 2020
SETTING: Portland, Maine
PUBLISHER: Livre Maison
GENRE(S): Historical Fiction, Thriller, Loss and Grief
Thank you to Livre Maison and PR Books and Moods for my advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
On an almost uninhabitable rocky island off the coast of Maine, a Hotel looms over the shore, an ever-present gray lady that stands strong like a guard, keeping watch. For many who come here, this island is a sanctuary and a betrayal.
This is a place where memories linger like ghosts, and the ephemeral nature of time begins to peel away …like the sanity of all who have been unlucky enough to step foot on its shore.
In the late spring of 1873, Isabelle gave birth to her son Oscar, he cried for three startling minutes, and then went silent. During the months that follow, Isabelle is drugged and lulled into an almost hallucinatory world of grief and fear. Her life begins to feel as though it exists in a terrifying new reality separated from those around her …
When her grieving begins to make her husband, Henry, uncomfortable, he and his mother conspire to send Isabelle away to a Summer Hotel on Dagger Island, where she can rest and heal. While they are adamant that the hotel is not an asylum and that Isabelle will be able to return eventually to her home, Isabelle understands in her heart that it is all a lie. That perhaps, everything about being a woman in this time, may have always been a lie.
Her family has lied to her, and she has lied to herself.
The Hotel, of course, is not what it seems, and the foreboding Dagger Island begins to feel more like a prison than a retreat. Isabelle hears relentless sounds coming from the attic above her room, and the ever-present cries of small children scream in her head almost constantly. Are they hallucinations, or are they connected to the small cemetery she found, filled with the fresh dirt of little graves, the brokenhearted reminders of people that no one believes ever existed?
She meets a fellow guest at the Hotel, a young, enigmatic, and deeply damaged priest, named Francis.
Together they teeter on the edges of reality and try desperately to become free from the fates that their pasts have bound them to.
From Daylight to Madness is a poetic, and haunting Gothic Fiction novel that is both profoundly unsettling and darkly romantic.
Isabelle is a woman who gives birth to a child who only lived for minutes before he succumbed to a silent death. Her husband Henry is an oaf of a man, who went from living with his mother, who did everything for him, to living with a wife who did everything for him, therefore he was ill equipped to deal with a wife who is dealing with the complex emotions of birthing a practically stillborn child. When he has had enough of her antics and her self-medicating, he and his mother send her away to a “hotel” which is really just a glorified institution.
At this hotel Isabelle constantly hears the cries of her deceased child, Oscar. These cries haunt her to the point that when she no longer hears them, it bothers her. There, she also meets an array of other individuals “healing” there, like Francis, whom she begins to fall in love with.
But, in this day and age, she is still chattel to her husband, Henry: “Henry’s forgotten object on the shelf.”
When I originally reviewed this book, I was harsh, but I have since had the time to sift through my feelings and put together a better understanding of what I liked and didn’t like about this book. I think what shocked me the most was how grotesque Henry and his mother were in the way they treated Isabelle. Henry sees her as property and literally does what he wants with her, even in a somewhat predatory fashion. It was disturbing to me. But I genuinely liked Isabelle’s character. She was strong in her own way, dealing with an unimaginable grief and being told HOW to feel and how NOT to feel. Also, this book takes place remarkably close to my own hometown and I was definitely drawn into that aspect.
The end of this book was great, but definitely leaves you anticipating the next book in the series. I am eagerly awaiting to see what comes of Isabelle and where life takes her… if it takes her anywhere at all.