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.
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.