Words are funny things.
Their meaning, the pictures they paint in the minds of those that hear them: they’re not always the same and to me at least, that makes them meaningless.
Take for instance the phrase ‘black widow’. Those words conjure the image of a spider, an eight-legged creature with the red imprint of an hourglass on its abdomen.
However, instead of speaking of an arachnid, of the resident of a spindly and dew-laden web, the people who whisper those words are talking about something much different.
They’re talking about me.
From what I’m told, I’m called the Black Widow because no man I’ve ever loved has survived.
Yet, I have no memory of any of it.
My new home leads me to the definition of another vague and meaningless word.
It’s a place where I’m supposed to seek refuge.
A place of retreat and security.
It’s a place where I’m supposed to be kept safe because I’m sick.
But the definition for this place is wrong and the word becomes meaningless when you’re tucked away and made silent by drugs and pretty white jackets.
My name is Alexandra Sutton and this is the story of what happened when I was imprisoned inside an Asylum.
I couldn’t contain my anger. “I didn’t kill anybody! I don’t even know who those men are…”
“Do not raise your voice with me, Ms. Sutton. I’ve allowed your quirks in behavior thus far, but I’m growing tired of your insubordination. While under my care you will learn to control your outbursts or else you will be restrained both physically and chemically, if necessary.”
“Through drugs, you mean. You’ll dope me up to a point where I can’t fight back.”
“If that’s what I must do. Like I’ve said, I don’t prefer that type of restraint, but in certain cases, it can’t be avoided.”
Standing from his chair, he rounded the desk to stand in front of me. I craned my neck to look up at him, my muscles tightening painfully with anger and the refusal to believe that I’d done any of the things of which I’d been accused. It wasn’t until he was close enough to touch me that the notes of his cologne wafted beneath my nose – something haunting and exotic, masculine and earthy. I shivered at the smell, looking away from him and grasping my hands together in my lap to the point where my short fingernails dug into my skin.
“Look at me, Ms. Sutton.”
I did as I was told because there was no point in fighting back. A slow roll of recognition penetrated my thoughts, the abysmal circumstances of this place, the futility and harrowing truth that I was under their control. Any hint of rebellion and I would be dosed into compliance, drooling on myself while nodding my approval of whatever horrible thing they had planned.
They stripped you of your strength, your voice, your entire being, and replaced it with the structure implicit to an institution for the insane.
“You are my patient and as such, you are under my control and also my protection. I will not hurt you in any way. My only job is to help you. However, any rebellion on your part will be met with equal force. Do you understand?”
“Yes sir.” I spit out the words, angry that I was answering to a man I didn’t even know.
“That’s a good girl.”
It’s no secret that I adore this author and her wickedly erotic, mindblowingly dark, and downright fascinating stories that keep me on my toes and leave me reeling with twist after turn. It never ceases to amaze me the things Lily White can come up with and the originality behind her stories is the main driving force of why her books are such a smashing success. Asylum in particular stood out to me as most, if not all, of the story would be taking place within a mental institution and with an alleged murderer as a heroine and an enigmatic doctor as the ‘hero,’ things were bound to get interesting. And while I was truly entertained by the psychotic events as well as the diverse cast of characters, I was also left somewhat underwhelmed.
Dubbed the ‘Black Widow,’ Alexandra Sutton is quarantined in a well-known mental institution for further evaluation after being considered as the prime suspect of a murder. A murder she doesn’t remember. In fact, certain key and traumatic events in her life she has absolutely no memory of. Sometimes she’s grounded in reality; sometimes she floats off in an illusion. The only thing she’s certain of is that she did not commit the murder she was accused of, but with no one who believes her, Alex is well and truly stuck in the asylum, surrounded by white jackets, white walls and quieted by the drugs running in her veins.
Dr. Jeremy Hutchins is Alex’s newly assigned psychiatrist. Not much is known about him or his background but he seems to be dedicated in solving her case. Though it’s not instant, there is an underlying attraction between the two that’s only enhanced as the story goes on because of the taboo nature of their doctor/patient relationship. For once, Alex feels safe and like she can breathe whenever she’s close to Jeremy. And the opposite is true for Jeremy: he’s not repulsed by her mental instability or the crimes she may or may not have committed.
The premise of this story is an intriguing, original, and compelling one and overall I did like it. However, (and this is a personal preference of mine) when stories take liberties with any psychological issues, I usually cannot fully enjoy the book. I appreciate the author warning that liberties were taken with illness treatments and completely understand that a story is fictional and is for entertainment purposes only, but it’s just not something I can get accustomed to while reading and will always hinder my enjoyment of the book. Plus, there were so many mind games, crazy characters, and even crazier events going on I think I was just overwhelmed by it all instead of being blown away over any one revelation.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I have just been spoiled by all the usually amazing books Lily White puts out which is why I have such high expectations for each one. Regardless of my underwhelmed response to this book, it’s still a very well-written, well-researched, but batshit crazy story that you MUST be in the mood for.
Asylum is a dark erotic standalone with mystery and thriller elements. It is not related to any other books from the author.
Rating: 3.5 stars!
Lily White is a dark writer who likes to dabble on the taboo side of eroticism. Most of the time she can be found wandering around aimlessly while her mind is stuck in some twisted power play between two characters in her head. You may recognize her in public by the confused expression, random mumbling, and occasional giggle while thinking up a scene. Lily’s favorite things in life are reading, thinking about reading, buying books for reading….and writing. Her other secret pleasure is meeting with her plot editor in public to discuss her books and watching the shocked expressions of the people around her that don’t realize she’s talking about a book. When Lily is not reading, writing, wandering or freaking out innocent bystanders, she’s sleeping.