Voices in the Sanitorium

Christian - Historical Fiction
288 Pages
Reviewed on 01/29/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Mimie Odigwe for Readers' Favorite

In Voices in the Sanitorium by Amy Lynn Walsh, Kathleen and Collin have to relocate with their four children from Manhattan to Scranton, near the ruins of West Mountain Sanitorium, where people with tuberculosis went to be treated in the 1930s. Aislyn, their eldest teenage daughter, adjusts to the move badly, and after a night with new friends at the ruins, she becomes a shell of her former self, growing thinner by the day, seeing and hearing things, and experiencing violent mood swings. Things begin to get darker when Aislyn purchases the diary of Bridget, a teenager who recovered from tuberculosis in the same sanitarium years before, and the family ventures deeper into the ruins.

This book was good, spooky, honest, and brimming with originality. Amy Lynn Walsh described the different periods with a masterful hand. Using Bridget’s diary as a portal to the past, these two eras flow seamlessly into each other. I couldn’t get enough of Bridget’s diary. It was sad, yet hopeful and beautiful. I appreciate Walsh’s research on tuberculosis and the West Mountain Sanitorium, and how she conveyed it to us without being boring or over-descriptive. Told in different formats, a blog, a diary, emails, thoughts, and letters, Voices in the Sanitorium is a page-turner. The history and the mystery keep you itching to know how Aislyn, Bridget, and the abandoned grounds are connected. The ending doesn’t disappoint and you will be left begging for more and rushing off to Google.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

From Voices in the Sanitorium by Amy Lynn Walsh we learn that Aislyn isn’t too happy about the family’s move from Manhattan to a place nearby the abandoned West Mountain Sanitorium. As a teenager, she had her little niche, her comfort zone, and now that she’s stuck in the backwoods she has to start over. Adding to her disdain is the fact that the place unsettles her. After discovering a diary written by a girl her age almost a century earlier, strange things start to happen and Aislyn is even more unsettled. But what is real and what is imagined? Is Aislyn seeing ghosts from the Sanitorium’s past? Or is she making things up to get her parents’ attention, to make them move the family back to Manhattan?

Amy Lynn Walsh’s novel Voices in the Sanitorium is a young adult coming-of-age story. With a little bit of history and a whole lot of imagination and intrigue, the plot follows one family and, in particular, the teenage daughter, as they adjust to rural life after living in the confined luxury of an urban metropolis like Manhattan. The story is told from multiple points of view, mostly from Aislyn and her mother, allowing both voices to be heard from the heart as they come to terms with each other’s opinions. It’s intriguing that Aislyn finds a diary that sparks an interest in the history of her new home and that she develops a fascinating, imaginary scenario, making the characters from the diary come to life. Diary entries and letters from the past are interwoven into the plot and this makes for an engaging as well as educational read.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Voices in the Sanitorium by Amy Lynn Walsh is a historical novel with a touch of the paranormal. Aislyn and her family have moved from Manhattan to Scranton and must now make their home near West Mountain, an abandoned sanitorium. Aislyn isn’t happy with the move but she does eventually make friends and one night they all meet up in the ruins of the sanitorium. Shortly after, her family notices that her personality has changed, and later she buys a diary. Not just any old diary; this one was written by Bridget, a young patient at the sanitorium nearly 100 years ago. It seems to be the catalyst and strange things begin to happen. Has Aislyn stirred up ghosts of the past and can she lay them to rest again?

Voices in the Sanitorium by Amy Lynn Walsh is a fantastic story with plenty of mystery, history, and a few spooks along the way. It started as a steady story about parents uprooting their family and the typical drama you expect from a teenager. It quickly morphed into a thrilling tale that flicked between the present and the past with ease. The author paints a descriptive picture of the old sanitorium, both in its heyday when it was full of TB patients, and now as an abandoned ruin. The characters are all well-developed, no matter which period they are from, and you will quickly become invested in where the story takes you. The author has done a great deal of historical research, which makes the account seem all the more realistic. It’s full of twists, turns, and suspense with a surprising ending that indicates there is another story to come.