Katherine Forrester has been married for less than a year. In that time, she has never allowed her husband to touch her. Initially her husband had been understanding, now he and his mother have decided Katherine must attend a doctor. With little choice in the matter Katherine attends Dr. Hershaw for therapy.
Dr. Hershaw is not like others in his profession. He believes in gaining the trust of his patients and refuses to subject them to the humiliating methods his colleagues utilise for female “hysteria.” Despite her initial reservations, Katherine finds herself trusting her unconventional doctor. Time, however, is not on her side. Her husband is becoming increasingly volatile and he has made it clear that regardless of her feelings in the matter he will be availing of his “husbandly rights.” With no alternative available Katherine agrees to follow Dr. Hershaw’s recommendations. What follows is a period of self-discovery and the development of a love that could tear her life apart.
Victorian England was not a safe place to be a woman. This book is a perfect example of how women were considered property to be used any way men saw fit. A wife had no rights and was subject to her husband’s whims. She could be committed to an asylum for life is that was her husband’s wish without reason. In the author’s note Ms Alston expresses concern that she does not do the themes of sexual violence and force justice. Dealing with difficult subject matters she handles them in a sensitive and thought provoking way. I was profoundly moved by the masterful way she dealt with the issues.
At a time when the market is simply flooded with predictable, anachronistic wallpaper historical romances, this book stands apart. The Soul’s Expression is an incredibly well-crafted, complex and powerful story that gripped me from first page to last and isn’t one I’m likely to forget in a hurry.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.