Iris Dunleavy, naive and desperate to live a more exciting life, marries a plantation owner and moves to the South. When she discovers her husband's true feelings about slavery and witnesses his sadism, she attempts to escape but is captured. After having a judge convict her of madness, her husband ships her off on a cattle boat to remote Sanibel Island. There she is imprisoned in an asylum owned by a renowned psychiatrist whose specialty is female lunacy. The doctor has a young son who hates the isolation of island living and befriends Iris. On the mainland the Civil War is brewing and the country is in chaos. In this setting, using visceral and evocative language, the author, Kathy Hepinstal, delves into love, madness, jealousy, loneliness, morality, ethics, and change. Although I found the ending tied up a little bit too neatly, I still loved this book's compelling story and unforgettable characters. An excellent read.