The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock: Book Review
About the Book
Book: The Gray Chamber
Author: Grace Hitchcock
Genre: Christian Historical / Suspense
Release Date: January, 2020
Will Edyth prove her sanity before it is too late?
Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
On Blackwell’s Island, New York, a hospital was built to keep its patients from ever leaving.
With her late parents’ fortune under her uncle’s care until her twenty-fifth birthday in the year 1887, Edyth Foster does not feel pressured to marry or to bow to society’s demands. She freely indulges in eccentric hobbies like fencing and riding her velocipede in her cycling costume about the city for all to see. Finding a loophole in the will, though, her uncle whisks Edyth off to the women’s lunatic asylum just weeks before her birthday. And Edyth fears she will never be found.
At the asylum she meets another inmate, who upon discovering Edyth’s plight, confesses that she is Nellie Bly, an undercover journalist for The World. Will either woman find a way to leave the terrifying island and reclaim her true self?
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Edyth is such a spunky character. Her freedom to express her true nature without caring about society added levity while also enhancing the plot. Bane is committed to his course of action, and I loved how Grace Hitchcock brought a bit of her first novel into The Gray Chamber.
Nellie Bly’s story has always fascinated me, so I was anxious to see how her story would work together with Edyth. I thought there was a nice balance. Nellie was present, but did not take center stage or overshadow Edyth.
I can’t believe how easy it was to have a woman committed to an insane asylum, and seeing what happened there through Nellie and Edyth’s perceptions was equal parts chilling and informative.
The romance between Bane and Edyth created a strong plot point throughout the novel, and I love that Edyth was no shrinking violet. She refused to sit idly by and wait for someone to rescue her.
In the same vein, Edyth’s religious journey proved as harrowing as her time at Blackwell. Grace Hitchcock was able to masterfully use secondary characters to show Edyth that God has not forgotten her and He does love her.
If you enjoy crime novels with a romantic tilt, you’ll like this novel.
I requested a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
About the Author
Grace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.
More from Grace
I am thrilled to share with you my second novel in the True Colors series, The Gray Chamber, which is set in New York City in 1887. I loved writing about Edyth Foster, our cat-rescuing, spunky heroine who spends her days painting, fencing with her dreamy instructor, and avoiding society at all costs, which as you can imagine, comes back to haunt her before the end. I’ve never written about a character who despised reading, so that was a new one for me. Edyth just doesn’t like to sit still long enough to finish a book, but you’ll find out why later.
I am pretty certain the librarians at my local branch are wondering what in the world my hobbies are, judging from the stacks of fencing books for beginners, histories of New York crime in the 19th century, and Nellie Bly’s Ten Days in a Mad-House, and more that I have continuously checked out since moving back to Louisiana.
The inspiration for this book came from Nellie Bly’s scandalous exposé for Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, The World. In reading Nellie’s articles, I was shocked at the grounds by which the asylum would commit women and that’s when I discovered a tiny mention about an heiress with family members who had her tucked away so they could have her fortune. . .and Edyth Foster was born.
I hope you will enjoy reading about our eccentric leading lady and her fencing master hero, Raoul “Bane” Banebridge. If you are interested in seeing pictures of the asylum and to see what I pictured the characters looking like, check out my Pinterest board here.
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“With beautiful description and shiver-worthy scenes, Grace Hitchcock has penned an incredible fiction story based on true history. The Gray Chamber was a fascinating and chilling read. Edyth’s story had me glued to the pages. But as I journeyed with the heiress and her eccentricities, the greed of her family which saw her locked up in an asylum against her will made me grateful for the freedoms I have today. And made me pray that my voice would never be silenced. The nightmare was brought to life so vividly that I found myself holding my breath and then cheering on Bane as he never gave up on Edyth. This is a story that will stick with me for a long time…”
~Kimberley Woodhouse – Carol-Award winning and Best-Selling Author of more than twenty books, including: MissTaken Identity, The Express Bride, The Golden Bride, The Patriot Bride, and The Mayflower Bride.