The Requiem Red by Brynn Chapman
Orphaned Jane has only ever been known as “29.” She has lived at the Soothing Hills Sanatorium since she was a young girl and it’s the only home she remembers. She’s not sure what’s wrong with her, but she hears things in the corn fields beside the asylum and when she hears music she sees colors no one else can see. She tries to hide this because at Soothing Hills a lot of patients are subjected to various forms of torture.
Jules is the daughter of the esteemed Dr. Frost who is the head of the Soothing Hills Asylum. Her father is cold and unpredictably easy to anger. Jules has been forced into an engagement to a young man she doesn’t much care for but, if it gets her out of her father’s household and allows her more freedom, she’ll happily comply. Since her fiancé has given the okay, her father unhappily agrees to allow Jules to volunteer at the asylum.
There’s a killer on the loose at Soothing Hills and all of the women who have been killed have one thing in common, they were 29’s roommate at the time. Dr. Frost immediately orders that Jane be put to questioning, and Jane lives in fear of the increasingly torturous sessions. She finds kindness in the new orderly, Mason, who is falling for Jane and vows that he will protect her. But how much can she trust him? Who is the killer, and who will be the next victim?
The author brings us the true horrors of asylum life in the 19th century. The prescribed treatments at Soothing Hills are a true reflection of what patients in asylums at that time were subjected to. At times, there was nothing wrong with those patients. They were falsely imprisoned, tortured and even lobotomized. Unfortunately they did not have a glimpse of kindness, love and hope. But that what books are for!
The Requiem Red is a 19th century tale of gothic horror and love. I would say the prime target for this book is the young adult audience, but it will be enjoyable to others as well. It is fast-paced with alternating POVs from both Jane and Jules, with a couple of other POVs thrown in sporadically. Simply written and enjoyable, I predict that you will fly through this one in one sitting.
I want to thank the publisher (Month9Books) for providing me with the ARC through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program for an honest review.