Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite
Asylum is an absorbing dark suspense by Kathryn Orzech. In 1899, twelve-year-old Margaret Rosa Delito is committed to an asylum after witnessing a shameful incident that changes her life forever. She secretly writes about sinister activities at the institution that include missing inmates, while living in hope that her father will rescue her. Seventy-five years later, Rosa dies before telling her granddaughter, Laura, a haunting secret. While grieving and puzzled by an old newspaper clipping in her grandmother’s possession, Laura meets an elderly woman who knew Rosa from the asylum and receives an antique key from her to unlock Rosa’s mysterious secret. She attempts to research Rosa’s past while contemplating her own insecure future. This quest proves difficult since persons close to her suddenly become untrustworthy, especially after she inherits most of Rosa’s assets, where the secret remains hidden.
Kathryn Orzech has created a fascinating mystery that grabs you with its unique plot. Asylum is a poignant dark story that reverts to 1899, describing Rosa’s past in one chapter, then current events associated with Laura in another. It is interesting and the touching drama of Rosa’s past could make a short story by itself. It also gives an insightful account of previous asylum conditions. There is a lot of suspense that begins in the first chapter and continues to the conclusion. I like the smooth continuity of the author’s writing as she switched from one relevant era to the other, and her mixed characters. Asylum by Kathryn Orzech is worth reading.