Mind blown! I received a free ARC copy of Nightingale by Amy Lukavics courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date is October 1, 2018
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Official Blurb (from NetGalley)
At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women…
June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.
Minor spoilers ahead
Like I said above, my mind was blown with this book! I’m honestly not quite sure how I feel about this one. I feel that this book was a lot darker than most Harlequin Teen books (that I’ve read at least) and I think I honestly forgot that this was a horror story during the two month wait for this one. Whoops! Needless to say, I had to rearrange my mindset to get into this book 🙂
I think stories that take place asylums in the early 1900’s are intriguing. I don’t think I have actually read much literature along those lines, but I read articles and such. The main character, June, was committed to the Burrow Place Asylum after waking up one morning to find out that her parents were not her parents and branded a knife towards them.
Told in snippets of days pre-asylum and in the asylum, we find out that June was trying to break out of the 1950’s housewife mold and strike her own path as a writer in a man’s world. Her story was a science fiction/horror story where a 10-year-old girl was abducted and experimented on by aliens. When I was reading this at first, I thought, good for you chika! Break down barriers and go on that writing retreat that is for men! You can do it!
We also find out that her parents have other plans. Her dad forced June to date his boss’s son, Robert, who was just as controlling and oppressive as her father. But June went along with the whole plan, biding her time until she could go away to the writing retreat to finish her book.
As the story unfolds through the flashbacks, the reader starts realizing that June’s life was more than ordinary and maybe her story was more prominent in her life than she realized. I started feeling like there was going to be a monster scene in the asylum (I was right) and that June might have been more like her story’s main character than she realized or maybe the story was a more fantastical retelling of something she was remembering subconsciously from her past. Again, I was right on this too.
I enjoyed Nightingale. I absolutely loved the concept! I absolutely dug the plot twist towards the end, even though I had an inkling of where it was leading. I thought the story was very well written and I look forward to picking up some more of the author’s books when I have the time.
Also, I got an American Horror Story: Asylum vibe from this story and I was fully expecting a scene where Jessica Lange comes out singing the Name Game.
My only complaint is that I felt that the epilogue was not needed; it kind of ruined the perfect natural ending. June did not need a happily ever after full of love and acceptance for this specific story to be great. I wish I had not read the epilogue and would have just stopped before it.
I give Nightingale 4 stars. I was bouncing around between 3.5 and 4, because the epilogue ruined what I thought was the perfect ending. However, just because I didn’t care for it doesn’t mean someone else would agree, so I went ahead and rounded up to 4. The story was dark and well written, and I encourage anyone who likes the horror genre to give this one a shot.