Age Range
Release Date
September 25, 2018
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At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women…

June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.

Editor review

1 review
Weird, creepy, and downright delightful
Overall rating
Writing Style
Amy Lukavics is one of my favorite horror writers. All of Lukavics's books are a little odd (in the best way), but NIGHTINGALE takes the cake for weirdness (again, in the best way). Set in 1951, June is everything society doesn't like in young women: outspoken, bold, independent, and a writer. When her dreams and desires come to an ultimate clash against her parents's wishes, she is sent to an asylum. There, she finds horror, mystery, and a sinister plot.

What I love most about NIGHTINGALE is the setting. Historical horror can be such a specific type of horror, and Lukavics expertly combines the horror of 1950s society sexism with psychological (and maybe even a touch of speculative) horror. This book is so immersive and creepy that you'll want to read with the lights fully on. I can't talk too much about the plot without giving away spoilers, but I will say it manages to combine some of the most unexpected elements into a way that makes complete sense.

If you enjoyed AHS: Asylum but wished it was queerer, NIGHTINGALE is the perfect read for you.
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