The Purple Nightgown is another book in the True Colors, Historical Stories of American Crime Series by Barbour Publishing. This Christian historical suspense is written by author A.D. Lawrence and based on events from 1912. Until reading this series, I had no idea how much I enjoyed books written on American crimes. The crimes are so outlandish that at times they are hard to believe even though they really did happen.
This book was mesmerizing. I was engaged with the story and characters from the beginning. It is the story of wealthy Stella Burke. Poor Stella, she was beside herself with pain from excruciating headaches and desperately wanted a cure. Her dear friend and chauffeur, Henry, cared deeply for her and watched as the line of endless eligible bachelors vied for Stella’s hand. He had her best interest at heart.
Stella reads about a health or wellness spa and wants to try it for a cure. The spa is Linda Hazzard’s and has extreme if not sketchy treatment programs. I was riveting and could not stop reading this captivating novel. I know it was based on actual events, but it was difficult to believe.
The author had a very nice style of writing. I was drawn into the story early and as it progressed I was able to empathize with Stella. I understood her despair and need for a cure. However, I wanted to caution and advise her, too.
Linda Hazzard was portrayed as the horrible criminal that she surely must have been to do the things listed in the book. The author did a beautiful job bring characters to life on the pages. There were twist and turns as well as many head shaking scenes. This book was very well researched, organized, and written.
This book is highly recommended by me. A reading group would have a lot to discuss. Please be sure to read the author’s notes at the end. They are enlightening. I rated this a 5 out of 5 stars. I received a copy of this from CelebrateLit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: The Purple Nightgown
Author: A.D. Lawrence
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense
Release date: March, 2021
Marvel at true but forgotten history when patients check into Linda Hazzard’s Washington state spa in 1912 and soon become victim of her twisted greed.
Book 10 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History
Heiress Stella Burke is plagued by insincere suitors and nonstop headaches. Exhausting all other medical aides for her migraines, Stella reads Fasting for the Cure of Disease by Linda Hazzard and determines to go to the spa the author runs. Stella’s chauffer and long-time friend, Henry Clayton, is reluctant to leave her at the spa. Something doesn’t feel right to him, still Stella submits herself into Linda Hazzard’s care. Stella soon learns the spa has a dark side and Linda a mean streak. But when Stella has had enough, all ways to leave are suddenly blocked. Will Stella become a walking skeleton like many of the other patients or succumb to a worse fate?
Click here to get your copy!
A.D. Lawrence makes her home in Northeastern Nebraska. She has been passionate about writing and true crime for years, and her two obsessions melded into the goal of authorship. She is an active member of the ACFW, writes a true crime blog, won the 2019 Crown Award and was a 2019 First Impressions finalist.
More from A.D. Lawrence
Times have changed. And like so many things, health retreats have experienced their own metamorphosis. Sure, they’ve always catered to people with both spare money and time, but aside from similar clientele, the face of the health spa is nothing like its early 20th century sister.
If you could afford a getaway to a modern-day health spa like The Golden Door, you’d be treated to the luxury of rest. Yoga on the beach. Deep tissue massages. A much-needed break from technology and life’s constant pressures. Mental well-being is valued almost as highly as physical health, and the two are thought to be connected. After days or weeks of pampering, you would return home relaxed, recharged, and ready to dip back into the hustle of the real world.
In 1911, during the time of The Purple Nightgown, the medical community took a diametrically different approach to health. Weight equaled health.The prevailing assumption was that any ailments were directly connected to weight. Thus, ‘fat camps’ grew in popularity. Men and women checked into sanatoriums where the aides put them through grueling exercise regimes and provided them with just enough food to sustain life. No coddling. Not many of us would subject ourselves to the treatments early health spas required.
In this era of already extreme health measures, Linda Hazzard made her mark in Washington State. Obsessed with fasting, she ran her patients through an unfathomable course of ‘diet and exercise’ that proved the undoing of many. She did give massages though, which you’ll learn more about when you read The Purple Nightgown.
Although it’s fun to long for a simpler time while reading historical books and watching shows like Little House on the Prairie, there are some modern ways of thinking and advances in human comfort I’d rather not give up. One of those is the vastly superior spa experience we have today. Somehow, a facial with soothing background music sounds much more appealing than running mile after mile every day with nothing to look forward to but a glass of orange juice or a bowl of canned tomato broth.
Hot stone massage anyone?
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To celebrate her tour, A.D. is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.