"...(a) spirited first novel...entertaining...intriguing...Bollow shows promise." --Publisher's Weekly

With the lazy days of summer hitting us full force, it always comes to pass that you need a great collection of great books to entertain you while you hit the beach, travel in your motor home, or simply escape the kids and heat by locking yourself in your room.Well, hold on to your Vickie Secrets, ‘cos I have a doozie for you.

Author and playwright, Ludmilla Bollow, sent me her book when we were still wet behind the ears. Her book was our first Publisher’s Weekly review, so I have a very special place in my heart for this lovely book.

I fell in love with Dr. Zastro’s Sanitarium because it’s populated with so many wonderful, passionate, three-dimensional characters and passionate yet tragic plot that still impacts me seven years later.

This is no ordinary romance. Ludmilla’s literary palette is set in 1800 New York, where the mores of sexual-oppression bumps up against fiercely independent Yana, who comes to Dr. Zastro’s clinic to heal her arm, so she can resume her painting career. The idea of finding love is the furthest thing from her mind because she doesn’t want to feel tied to any man. But the ever-proper Dr. Phillipe Zastro intrigues her.

Unlike women of that time, Yana acts on her growing desire for Phillipe, and in the process, shatters his delicate balance of maintaining professional boundaries and feeling a new awakening of desire he never knew existed. Yana lights up his life and fills a gap in his life that he tried to fill by tossing himself into his work. Where he’d always seen life in the clinical, scientific world of black and white, suddenly the world has shades of gray.

And it’s those shades of gray that threaten his and Yana lives when a patient dies and Dr. Zastro is blamed for it. Prosecuted and sentenced to jail, Yana waits those long years for him. For the first time in her life, she’s taken the ultimate leap of faith and given herself unquestioningly to a man – something she swore she’d never do.

After Phillipe pays his unjust debt for a crime he didn’t commit, he finally returns to Yana and finds true joy in finally feeling complete. But Life isn’t done with Yana, and she is handed one last tragedy that will crush her heart and spirit, yet teach her grace and ease her restless gypsy soul.

I admit it – I cried like a baby, and if I had to rate this with Kleenex boxes, I’d give this a five – meaning that I recommend you have five Kleenex boxes on you when you read this lovely, tender book.

I could relate to Yana because she’s an independent cuss who doesn’t take crap from anyone, yet life and love soften her into a lovely state of grace amid ultimate sadness. I loved seeing Phillipe release the chains of what’s considered proper in order to allow his heart to have a bigger voice in his life. I loved that they both became better people for having loved each other. Bittersweet and tragic, to be sure, but dang…what a fabulous book.

Buy this book if you want a beautifully written story that captures the depths of how powerful love is. And have a lovely reading summer.

5 Responses to #SummerReadTuesday

  1. Kim Kircher says:

    Sounds like a great read. I will add it to my list.

  2. Kim Kircher says:

    Oops. Tried to buy it but the “site is currently down”.

  3. Gah! It’s fixed now, Kim. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Well, of course I think it’s a wonderful blog! But then I also think Lynn Price is a wonderful editor and Behler is the best! After all these years, I still feel connected to both, and they still continue to care. When you sign with Behler the blessings continue. Cheers! Ludmilla Bollow

  5. I love a happy author, and I ADORE happy readers. Psst…Ludmilla, I’ll slip that $20 in the mail today.

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