My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Medea Complex is a historical thriller set in England in 1885. Deep within the story is the chilling factor that money and influence can get you anywhere. The story opens with Anne who wakes to find herself no longer at home but in a rough cell, with no recognition as to how she has got there.
A gruesome tale unfolds, Anne has killed her baby and has escaped criminal trial by being diagnosed as insane. She is now in Bethlam Lunatic Asylum and being treated by Doctor George Savage, the Chief Medical Officer and renowned psychiatrist. The doctor believes Anne is suffering from puerperal mania, a disorder often occurring after childbirth, which today would be classed as postnatal depression. Her treatment is harsh and cruel by modern standards.
Doctor Savage is intrigued by Anne and her condition. Anne doesn’t know her husband when he visits, a man torn between anger for the loss of his son and love for his suffering wife. Stanbury has his own secrets and is driven to drink by his own weakness and indecisions.
With the help of a caring nurse called Agnes and a cold dunking in water, Anne recovers her memory and her sanity returns. The Doctor declares her well and releases her back to her home. A nervous Anne fears her husband, in a drunken outburst he threatens her and is full of hatred and loathing. When Anne disappears overnight, a trail of evidence points to Stanbury. He is arrested for murder and goes to trial even though Anne’s body is never found.
The trial reveals past betrayals, hidden secrets and suspicious circumstances, plus the strength and willpower of a woman prepared to do anything for her child. Doctor Savage may hold the key to Stanbury’s fate but will his evidence be enough?
This book has many twists and turns to keep the reader guessing, there are chilling descriptions of conditions and treatment for patents at Bethlem. The book is based upon a true story and the author has written a very informative and entertaining story about the subject and the era in which it took place.
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