A huge thank you to Rosie for my spot on this one and copy of the book.
Broadmoor, Britain’s first asylum for criminal lunatics, was founded in 1863. In the first years of its existence, one in five patients was female. Most had been tried for terrible crimes and sent to Broadmoor after being found not guilty by virtue of insanity. Many had murdered their own children, while others had killed husbands or other family members. Drawing on Broadmoor’s rich archive, this book tells the story of seven of those women, ranging from a farmer’s daughter in her 20s who shot dead her own mother to a middle-class housewife who drowned her baby daughter. Their moving stories give a glimpse into what nineteenth-century life was like for ordinary women, often struggling with poverty, domestic abuse and repeated childbearing. For some, Broadmoor, with its regime of plain food, fresh air and garden walks, was a respite from the hardships of their previous life. Others were desperate to return to their families. All but one of the women whose stories are recounted in this book recovered and were released. Their bout of insanity was temporary. Yet the causes of their condition were poorly understood and the treatment rudimentary. As well as providing an in-depth look at the lives of women in Victorian England, the book offers a fascinating insight into the medical profession’s emerging understanding of the causes and treatment of mental illness.
My Bookish Thoughts
I love a true crime read and Broadmoor has been particularly fascinating to me as the home of some of the worst criminals over time. The cover of this one is intriguing and has made me want to delve into the pages and find out more.
The crimes included in this book have been both intriguing and shocking. This is a well researched book which shows some of the most dreadful.
Broadmoor has a reputation that speaks before you even pick this book up. Initially, one in five patients were female convicted of murdering husbands, children or family members. However, initially most had been found not guilty due to insanity.
Thomas explores some awful cases with this book and I have found it interesting to read. This is a book written in a way that is easy to follow and makes you want to read more.
After reading Broadmoor women, I have been left wanting more. I will definitely be recommending this book and looking up more books by this author.
This is a perfect read for true crime fans and one that I will definitely be recommending.