The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Title: The Lost Girls of Willowbrook
Author: Ellen Marie Wiseman
Genre: Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery
Rating: 4/5

Sage receives news that the twin sister she had been told was dead is actually alive and missing from the notorious Willowbrook State School. In hopes of finding her, Sage travels to Willowbrook and finds herself trapped in a nightmare. After being mistaken for her twin sister Rosemary, Sage is dragged into Willowbrook and imprisoned. While trying to convince the workers that she isn’t her sister, Sage witnesses unspeakable horrors. Her only choice is to continue to search for Rosemary in hopes that they will both eventually escape the nightmare that they are in.

“It was just easier to believe in the boogeyman than to acknowledge that there were so many evil people in the world.”

Being a psychology major in college, I knew that psychiatric hospitals in the 1900’s were atrocious, but this book was even darker than I had imagined. The fact that it is based on true history makes it more sickening. Patients were continuously drugged and tested on without consent. Some patients were given lobotomies or shock therapy which ruined their brain function. They rarely were allowed to shower or wash their clothes. The list of horrors goes on and on. The Lost Girls of Willowbrook is very eye opening, but it isn’t for the faint of heart.

“Kind hearts are strong hearts”

Although the book was based on true history, the story itself is fictional. I personally think this was a good choice on Ellen Marie Wiseman’s part because it showed you what the school was like while also creating a story to follow. A non-fiction book would have also been interesting, but it would have been more difficult to get through. The Lost Girls of Willowbrook had great character development and a plot twist that I didn’t see coming. If you are a fan of horror, mysteries, or historical fiction I highly recommend you read this book.

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