We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
The Asylum | [John Harwood]

The Asylum

Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a private asylum in a remote corner of England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor Maynard Straker tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton the day before and then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: "Your patient must be an imposter." Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary....
Regular Price:$20.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

A brilliant new Gothic thriller from the acclaimed author of The Ghost Writer and The Séance.

Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a private asylum in a remote corner of England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor Maynard Straker tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton the day before and then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: "Your patient must be an imposter."

Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? And what has become of her two most precious possessions: a dragonfly pin left to her by her mother and a journal that contains the only record of those missing weeks? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes her from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.

Here is another delicious read from the author praised by Ruth Rendell as having "a gift for creating suspense, apparently effortlessly, as if it belongs in the nature of fiction."

©2013 John Harwood (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Creepy doings - certificates of insanity, switched identities, morbid personalities - in and around an asylum in 19th-century England… Harwood certainly makes the atmosphere work here." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Engrossing… The crisp prose and twisty plot will encourage many to read this in one sitting." (Publishers Weekly)

"Harwood, master of creeping Victorian horror, does it again in his latest tale of pervasive evil and madness.… Twisted in every sense of the word and wonderfully atmospheric, this dark psychological tale shocks by degree until truth of a sort is revealed, in a style similar to that of Joanne Harris’ Sleep, Pale Sister and D. J. Taylor’s Kept." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (138 )
5 star
 (34)
4 star
 (52)
3 star
 (34)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
3.6 (128 )
5 star
 (29)
4 star
 (43)
3 star
 (37)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (9)
Story
4.0 (127 )
5 star
 (45)
4 star
 (46)
3 star
 (29)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Shaliali 06-03-13
    Shaliali 06-03-13 Member Since 2007

    I love the BBC and British mysteries, but my tastes are very eclectic. I live with my husband and menagerie of rescued cats and dogs.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    213
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    438
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mesmerizing"

    This book is different from my usual cup of tea, so I hesitated a bit before purchasing it. I was afraid it might be too formulaic to be enjoyable, but this has been one of my favorite audiobooks in some time. First, it is very atmospheric; I was immediately drawn into this world. Harwood created a main character to whom I was immediately drawn. Much of the story is told through flashbacks, but the narrative switches between the present and past so skillfully that transitions are seamless. As I listened, I always had questions that made me find just a few more minutes to listen a little more. The suspense isn't driven by violence and mayhem, but of situations with "something" just a bit off kilter, or the promise of information just around the bend. I don't want to say much about the plot because each new element of the plot reveals something that you've been wondering about. If you read the publisher's summary on the book's page, it gives you a decent enough feel for the book; just know that this story is very well crafted.

    If you're considering this book, go ahead, you won't be disappointed. The writer is talented; Rosalyn Landor does her usual outstanding job; and the overall result is an experience that I am very glad I did not miss.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Die Falknerin 07-24-13 Member Since 2008

    Painter, musician, bibliophile...

    HELPFUL VOTES
    409
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    613
    136
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    32
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another brilliant novel from Harwood"

    Not much more can be said about the plot beyond the publisher's description without spoilers. Suffice to say we are, without preamble, plunged straightaway into a nightmarish situation that takes place in a Victorian England of the author's imagination.

    In all his writing, Harwood displays a gift I associate strongly with M.R. James: he can take otherwise unremarkable characters, events, places, and situations and gently bring in horror in the most unexpected way, transforming all into the extraordinary. Each author does so with subtlety, beautifully economical writing, and an uncanny ability to evoke atmosphere.

    Landor narrates with her usual elegant precision and feeling for character. I've loved everything I've ever heard her read.

    I also recommend Harwood's stunningly original debut novel, "The Ghost Writer," and his second, "The Séance." Both are unforgettable, well-written tales that will stay with you long after you've finished the last pages. If you like your historical fiction with a slightly gothic twist, few do it better than Harwood.

    As usual, I cannot wait to read his next novel. I hope you'll feel the same way.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natalie Cambridge, Ontario, Canada 03-29-14
    Natalie Cambridge, Ontario, Canada 03-29-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    58
    28
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good listen, but not gripping"

    It took a couple of tries to get into this one, and I really didn't get absorbed into the story until well into the second-half of the book. The gothic aura of the book is very well done, and the pervasive sense of impending doom does pervade the story in undercurrents, but it was tedious at times. The underlying question of her sanity is well balanced to make me wonder at times which way it was going to go. The narration was good.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RueRue 04-01-14
    RueRue 04-01-14

    RueRue

    HELPFUL VOTES
    179
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    161
    156
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    10
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Begining and Wonderful Narration"
    Would you try another book from John Harwood and/or Rosalyn Landor?

    Loved Rosalyn Landor's narration ! I might try another John. Harwood story. I liked the writing, but the plot became much too convoluted, and I felt there were some plot threads left dangling.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    A less convoluted plot and more character development would have made this a better narrative.


    Which character – as performed by Rosalyn Landor – was your favorite?

    She did all of the characters, male and female, very well. Great narration !


    Could you see The Asylum being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    It certainly has cinematic potential, but the plot would need to be simplified.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Stephan 01-18-14
    C. Stephan 01-18-14

    alwayswalkingmydog

    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    26
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good Thriller, Excellent Narration"
    What about Rosalyn Landor’s performance did you like?

    Excellent reader for a British mystery thriller. She was able to perform male dialog as well as the woman's. Pleasant voice.


    Any additional comments?

    The story line dragged a bit in the middle, but otherwise was a good read. It kept my undivided attention, except for the middle part, where letter after letter was read. In my opinion, sometimes a more concise synopsis would have sufficed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandra 12-02-13
    Alexandra 12-02-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Period Thriller but not a page-turner"

    Set in an earlier time period, this thriller starts off well, but then winds into an implausible storyline with love affairs at the root of all the vagaries of the different characters. It feels as though the author missed the mark quite widely so this ends up being just another period story with some strange and improbable twists. Not worth the credit.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annabel 11-25-14
    Annabel 11-25-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could Have Been Brilliant"
    What made the experience of listening to The Asylum the most enjoyable?

    The narrator is well suited to reading this story and genre, I went 'into' the story very quickly


    What was most disappointing about John Harwood’s story?

    So damn bored with slipping in a bit of lesbian-ism, it seems that every writer out there right now is trying to add gravitas to their main plotline by adding in an irrelevant lesbian angle. Actually, its worse than that as its actually an INCEST lesbian angle, this really wearied me. I was really getting into the story and then BOOM - teenage boy fantasy storyline creeps in. Ruined the atmosphere.


    What about Rosalyn Landor’s performance did you like?

    I went into the story very quickly and the narration did not irritate me or get in the way of the story


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Who's the maddest of them all?


    Any additional comments?

    :LOVE the idea running through this book, especially in the beginning when the story line was so tight and you really didn't know who was mad, or lying or confused. Great idea for a novel. Shame about the late middle section.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paisley ASHEVILLE, NC, United States 11-13-14
    Paisley ASHEVILLE, NC, United States 11-13-14 Member Since 2013

    Fan of philisophical fantasy, historic fiction, Victorian gothic, books that make you think!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Encapsulates you in a small, fascinating world."
    Where does The Asylum rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's in the top rung! I loved listening to this one with my boyfriend and would highly recommend it as a road trip book or something to listen to with company. We had a great time dissecting the plot and stopping it every once in a while to throw our theories out as to how everything would be resolved.


    What about Rosalyn Landor’s performance did you like?

    She did such an excellent job of switching voices for characters that I honestly forgot this wasn't a full cast production. So many female narrators give male characters awful, unconvincing, or flat voices, but not this lady. Very impressive!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    *POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT* There was a line near the end where Georgina comments that there was a greater reason she could never be Frederick's wife, beyond their relation, and it was that her love for Rosina had revealed a deeper truth of herself. I don't think even my boyfriend picked up on the fact that Georgina was saying she digs ladies and not men!
    That's not a "moving" moment, really, but a notable one that is pretty subtle and easy to overlook.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the second Harwood novel I've listened to, and I'm fascinated with how immersive his worlds are, despite being bound up in a relatively small scope. Everything is lushly detailed and character driven. You will find that even if you don't particularly care for a character, you are still listening with rapt attention and eager to find out more about them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Miner Cave Creek, AZ USA 11-01-14
    Susan Miner Cave Creek, AZ USA 11-01-14 Member Since 2006
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "OK if you're not into smart plots"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Take out the confusion & written for an intelligent reader


    Would you ever listen to anything by John Harwood again?

    Probably not


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I gave up before finishing


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 02-08-14
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 02-08-14 Member Since 2011

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    277
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    225
    208
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    42
    88
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Is it amnesia or a conspiracy?"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not really. I wanted to know the ending but I wasn't enjoying the book. It tended to drag and was not very thrilling to listen to either.


    Would you recommend The Asylum to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would tell my friends to pass this one by. Not worth the listen.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    She was adequate given the material she had to work with.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No, can't see myself enjoying this as a movie either.


    Any additional comments?

    The story revolves around a young woman waking up in a madhouse in Victorian England. She is told she is not who she thinks she is and the story goes meandering from there.
    As a short story this might have been successful.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 13 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
Sort by:
  • barjil
    BEMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
    5/27/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A cracking Gothic yarn!"

    I have raced through this book and am now sorry I've finished it. It has overtones of Wilkie Collins but maybe that's because it's set in the 19th century and the asylum reminded me of 'The Woman in White' - this is far more exciting, though.

    The reader has a very refined voice which may irritate some people but it goes very well with the story and she's able to use it to voice the different characters. I looked for other books by John Harwood but this seems to be the only one.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • sharon
    Falmouth, United Kingdom
    7/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Darkly Menacing."

    Never having had the pleasure of John Harwoods works before I didn't know what to expect. Dark and brooding you are immediately drawn in to a this mystery being drip fed clues along the way while Georgina Ferris tries to solve the puzzle of how she ended up in an asylum in Cornwall. She soon realises that the answers lie in her families past.
    The pace was perfect and as the drama unfolded I was almost climbing into my ipod.
    But damn it the ending was anti climatic, Dr Strakers part really confused me, but hey horses for courses, it still does not detract from the very excellent writing, even though the ending wasn't to my taste will still look for more by JH.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth
    LEAMINGTON SPA, Warwickshire, United Kingdom
    7/7/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Victorian Gothic thriller"
    What did you like most about The Asylum?

    Nicely judged and imagined Victorian tale of fear of madness, repressed sexuality, and greed.I did not think initially that I would follow this through to the end, but I did - the story got hold of me in a way that I often think marks a good writer. The author does not overdo the Gothic atmosphere, but all the ingredients are there: a remote asylum for the insane on Dartmoor, an aloof and questionable doctor with a strange laboratory in the grounds, a woman who suffers from amnesia so badly that she can remember nothing about how she came to be there. Who is doing what to whom? We do not find out till the very end, and in between there is a feast of those long newsy Victorian letters between friends, lost wills, tyrannical fathers and unfaithful lovers. Anyone who has enjoyed a good 19th century novel will enjoy this, and find it more accessible.

    I don't usually go in for complaining about endings, as it seems to me that that is the author's choice, and their right. I can have an opinion, however, and that's fair enough. Some readers will find the ending unconvincing, but I thought it just about stood the reality test.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked the heroine for her doughty determination not to be put down by this crowd of Victorian men who truly felt their superiority to be so obvious as not to need any evidence to support it!


    What about Rosalyn Landor’s performance did you like?

    The reader does a good job of sustaining the atmosphere and maintaining the style of a carefully articulating, educated woman of the period, and I think she manages the frail male asylum heir particularly well.


    Any additional comments?

    Good listen for a boring trip home, or a rainy Saturday when you don't want anything that will stretch you too far.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Louisa
    Freshwater Bay, United Kingdom
    7/7/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A real treat"

    It's a real treat to find John Harwood in audio. His last book, The Seance appeared on audible for a nanosecond and then was withdrawn. Harwood tells deliberately gothic tales - but they are always very gripping and a very good read or listen. Rosalyn Landor's reading is good and she manages to give the characters the right personalities from the start. There is not much more to say about the story than you'll find in the blurb and one doesn't want to give any of the plot away so suffice it to say that it's an excellent summer listen or a good one for a cosy bedtime. Enjoy!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Beccameriel
    London, United Kingdom
    6/26/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripping Victorian Gothic"

    Clearly inspired by The Woman in White, this is a good stab at a Victorian gothic novel. Shades of Sarah Waters and Michel Faber (but with less sex!). I could pick holes in the fact the the device of the letters is not very convincing - no one would report conversation like that in a letter - but it's so enjoyable overall that can forgive that. The story is, perhaps, a bit rushed at the end but it's jolly entertaining.

    Rosalyn Landor has just the right voice for a genteel 19th century lady.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • fiona
    Ireland
    8/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great twists and turns"

    An evocative period tale. Appealing heroine, great cast. The story is spooky and atmospheric. I would recommend this to fans of the seance.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen J. Welch
    Near London
    6/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Much more compelling that the synopsis suggests"

    Very much enjoyed this book: an excellent story, with more complexity and a slowly revealed back story. This makes the narrative canvas much wider than might appear from the synopsis, and though the comparison with Wilkie Collins might be going a bit far (* fewer words than he would use I feel sure!), it is an excellent read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • mollyeyre
    Leicestershire UK
    7/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Kept my interest"

    Overall this novel did keep my interest, as some other reviewers have mentioned, there is a strong 'Woman in White' feeling running through. As this (Woman in W) is one of my all time favourite books the Asylum left me a bit unsure.
    The characters were well drawn, but as ever I get very irritated by the actions of the daft heroin as she misses the obvious!!
    Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book, there were a couple of twists that were quite good and it held my interest throughout.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • S. Beaton
    scotland
    7/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved It"
    Would you listen to The Asylum again? Why?

    Yes, I twas a very interesting and mind gripping story, which kept you in suspense.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    Merseyside, United Kingdom
    6/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rather drawn out ...."
    What did you like best about The Asylum? What did you like least?

    The narration was very twee but so was the story. Bit disappointed as the title and write up seemed promising. The chasteness was all a bit unbelievable despite it being an historical read


    Would you ever listen to anything by John Harwood again?

    No


    Would you be willing to try another one of Rosalyn Landor’s performances?

    No I found it all quite tedious


    Was The Asylum worth the listening time?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 12 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.