Monday, July 22, 2013

Serials and Scenarios ~ A Heart Deceived ~ Review and Insight from the Author

Michelle Griep's latest, A Heart Deceived, is out. Read my review below. And Michelle did some serious research into some slightly unpleasant "practices" back in the day. She shares a bit with us as well. 

Welcome to the Asylum... Treatment for the Mentally Ill and Other Horrific Politically Incorrect Practices of Yesteryear
In the eighteenth century, medical care for the mentally ill was both a remedy and a punishment. What went on behind the ivy-covered walls of most mental institutions makes One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest seem like a five-star hotel stay.
Granted, the majority of doctors really were trying their best to help their patients, but a many of their practices only made things worse. Here’s a sampling of what might happen to you…
Think of riding a crazed merry-go-round on steroids. Feeling queasy? This was worse. The “Swinging Chair” is a contraption designed to spin the patient at high speed, which would induce vomiting, bladder evacuation, and eventually lull the poor little buddy into a tranquilized state of mind.
Ever had a really bad headache? Just thinking about this course of treatment makes my brain hurt. Trephining is an early form of lobotomy and was actually the first psychosurgery procedure to change socially unacceptable behaviors. Without getting too gory, just picture a huge drill bit hovering a breath away from your skull—only it doesn’t hover for long, if you know what I mean.
Shock Treatment
There’s nothing electrical about this kind of shocking treatment. The patient was left blindfolded on a platform, waiting, and waiting, and then bam! Suddenly the platform falls and he plunges into a tub of icy water, which was intended to shock the brain back into normalcy. Noise shock treatment was used as well, wherein an individual was again blindfolded and then without warning, a cannon behind them was shot off.
Besides these three, there was the usual bloodletting, purging, binding, and the attempt at good ol’ hypnosis. All this to say, an asylum was best avoided if at all possible—which is exactly what the heroine in my latest release, A HEART DECEIVED, is trying to do…
Miri Brayden teeters on a razor's edge between placating and enraging her brother, whom she depends upon for support. Yet if his anger is unleashed, so is his madness. Miri must keep his descent into lunacy a secret, or he'll be committed to an asylum—and she'll be sent to the poorhouse. 

Ethan Goodwin has been on the run all of his life—from family, from the law ... from God. After a heart-changing encounter with the gritty Reverend John Newton, Ethan would like nothing more than to become a man of integrity—an impossible feat for an opium addict charged with murder. 

When Ethan shows up on Miri's doorstep, her balancing act falls to pieces. Both Ethan and Miri are caught in a web of lies and deceit—fallacies that land Ethan in prison and Miri in the asylum with her brother. Only the truth will set them free.

Fortunately, the mental health industry has come a long way since then, but if you’d like a glimpse into the roots of present day psychiatric care, pick up a copy of A HEART DECEIVED, a timeless tale of love, lies and redemption.
A HEART DECEIVED is available by David C. Cook and at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and ChristianBook.

Keep up with the exploits of Michelle Griep at Writer Off the LeashFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

My Review of A Heart Deceived.

Michelle Griep has written about knights and Vikings in previous books. Both were fascinating time travel twisted romance novels. Her latest, A Heart Deceived, focuses in on just one time period, Georgian England. She paints a rich picture of social divisions and prepares the soil of story for characters who are struggling with more than just feelings and relationship issues.

Miri, her female lead character finds herself in a situation where she is a single woman at the mercy of her brother who seems to be slipping into insanity. He plans to wed her to the most repulsive man in the town because that man is willing to take Miri on. And willing to take any liberty he can when he manages to get Miri alone.

Ethan, a barely reformed opium addict, finds Jesus after being saved from the streets by John Newton. Ethan's friend, Will, is Miri's brother and after a tragedy, Ethan sets out to find her and break the news and hopefully find a safe haven away from the brutality of the streets.

Griep masterfully weaves a tale of intrigue and tension set within a darkly romantic era. Her characters are three dimensional and compelling. I found myself turning pages as quick as I could and reading just-one-chapter-more and okay-one-more late into the night.

I loved the mini history lessons lived out through the characters' lives and the ending was satisfying. I'm impressed with Griep's skills and strengths. A few scenes in the book will likely be too intense for the gentle reader. Griep peppers her word weaving with some spicy attraction scenes and some sense layering that includes visuals and olfactory details about the mean streets. There are characters who spend some time in a brothel, and obviously there is mention of drugs, addictions and side effects. In addition, there are some scenes that could be disturbing to self-diagnosed literary chickens. Consider the book a PG-13 rating. However, this is a great read for folks interested in English history, those who love a riveting story and rich characters. Need a plane or a beach read, this would be a perfect one. Cook, you continue to impress me with the novels you are publishing.