Addie and Dorian have always been together. They're clever, beautiful—and hopelessly violent. Diagnosed with a rare psychiatric condition and accused of murder in childhood, the sisters have spent most of their lives in a locked ward under the supervision of eccentric researcher Dr. Lark. Now on the cusp of adulthood, Addie has a plan: start a new family, to replace the one she lost. Dorian struggles to quell her violent tendencies in time to help raise her sister's child.
But Dr. Lark sees these patients as key to the completion of his revolutionary cure, and he will not allow Addie's absurd ideas to get in the way. As his “treatments” become increasingly bizarre, they put Addie and Dorian's safety at risk. The girls' only lifeline may be Ellie, a ward nurse with troubles of her own, who's never felt the need to protect anyone—until now.
Harrowing and bittersweet, at times claustrophobic, this gritty debut explores the fragility of familial bonds and the sometimes intractable tension between freedom and safety.
Barbara Barrow is the author of The Quelling (Lanternfish Press, 2018), which was selected as a Gold Winner for Literary Fiction in the Foreword Reviews Book Awards. Her short stories have appeared in Faultline, Southern Humanities Review, Cimarron Review , and elsewhere, and her scholarship has been published in Ecocene, Victoriographies, Victorian Poetry, and other academic journals. Originally from Atlanta, she has lived in New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and now Lund, Sweden, where she teaches literature and writing and lives with her husband, daughter, and pets.