Review: Color of Darkness (The Sullyard Sisters Book 1) by Ruth J. Hartman

Print Length: 
Publisher: esKape Press (2016)

From Lydia Sullyard is not insane. Truly she’s not. To her horror, she’s trapped inside Bedlam Hospital against her will. There’s only one way for her to gain her freedom, but the consequences are unthinkable.

Stratford Bexley agrees to visit Lydia in Bedlam. But the thought of stepping into London’s cesspool makes him want to change his mind. And what it will take for her to be released would alter Stratford’s life forever.

Is Lydia’s love strong enough to rescue Stratford from certain ruin, or will he save her life instead?


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
This was the first novel that I have ever read in which one of the main characters is imprisoned inside Bedlam Hospital. Obviously, I had heard mention of the place in other novels that have taken place during this time period, but to actually be taken inside of the hospital was a completely new experience. 

Right off the bat, I have to say that Ruth was very blunt when it came to describing the horribleness of the place and the inhumane way the patients were treated. She described things in a way that I fully felt like I was right there with Lydia - trapped in a dire situation with no hope. This was an honest approach to the less desirable side of life during that time period, and one that I felt was perfectly executed. 

At first, I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to feel about this story. After all, I loathed Stratford in the first novel, and I wasn't sure even with Ruth's uncanny ability to give someone redeeming qualities later on, that I would ever feel more then contempt for him. Thankfully, once again, I was wrong. There were several things explained about his character that made his actions in the first book make more sense. You could almost feel a sense of pity for him once he revealed his deepest secrets to Lydia. 

As far as the relationship between the two, it was thoroughly enjoyable to watch how things slowly developed between them whilst Lydia was trapped. Their time together was a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dank and dreary place. I liked how the more time Stratford spent in Lydia's company, the more you could see his true self come through. You could see the man who cared for others in the way that he did what little he could to better her circumstances. 

It was also exciting to catch up with Nathaniel and Kitty from the first book, and during the birth of their first child as well! I loved the way the author was able to seamlessly weave the two story-lines together so that although I got to catch up with my favorites from book one, they did not overshadow the characters of this book. In fact, their presence only added to the plot and enabled this story to take the shape and direction that it did. 

As for the villain in this novel? Lets just say I'm very happy at the way things played out with them and I wouldn't be sad if I never had to see or hear from them again! 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a clean romance or who enjoys an author that isn't afraid to take on the less desirable places of the era. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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