Cover Image: The Purple Nightgown

The Purple Nightgown

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Member Reviews

This is a well written debut novel of a terrible tragedy.
In the early 1900s, Linda Hazzard ran a clinic & spa and told people she'd heal any of their ailments if they submit to her treatments, which consisted primarily of fasting (starvation).
This author has brought to life in a truly authentic, awful way what a patient at that clinic might have gone through.
Stella was a courageous heroine. I enjoyed seeing the happenings through her eyes.
I must admit though, that through a large part of this story, my stomach just felt terrible. I do not recommend this book for young readers.
Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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This was a strong debut novel.  I really like this series and this author is impressive.  The horrors of this institution were captured and I liked the author’s note at the end.   
Many thanks to Barbour Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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She's desperate to find health, can he save her?

It's hard to believe that we are already to the tenth book in the True Colors series! I have eagerly anticipated each new release since reading the first book. And I've never been disappointed. The Purple Nightgown was one that I looked forward to as I was already at least somewhat familiar with the historical true crime events and I was totally curious as to what direction A.D. Lawrence might take her characters, real and fictional. 

I had such mixed feelings about the characters! One the one hand I thought Stella was spoiled, gullible, and deliberately foolish, but, on the other hand I still liked her and wanted so much for her to have a happy ending. I genuinely liked Henry but sometimes I wanted to just shake some sense into him and yell at him to stop letting class get in the way. Can you tell that I was emotionally involved? Just a little bit?

I will say this. Whether you are interested in alternative medicine or not, this villain sure is one crazy woman, Linda Buzzard...err...Hazzard sure gave/gives it a bad name. I'm not sure I'll ever see orange juice in quite the same way again... 

While I have liked some of the previous True Colors books a little better I thought that The Purple Nightgown was a sold addition to the series. It was interesting, it was entertaining, and A.D. Lawrence did a really great job surprising me with the showdown with some of the bad guys. I just did not see that particular scene coming. Now I just can't wait to read the next book...

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
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Oh my, this is a shivery book! I read it quickly partly because I was intrigued, and partly because I needed to get through the scary parts. Ha!

Author A.D. Lawrence does a really good job with her debut novel. She understands the pacing needed in a storyline. She would have me on edge, and then let me calm down. Briefly. The suspense in this story was at times dark, but this isn’t a “fun” story. I’m sure that she could have gone into deeper detail but didn’t, which I appreciated.

Lawrence writes a story that shows a battle between light and dark; God and the enemy. God’s love was evident throughout and hope was a constant thread.

If you enjoy mysteries based on real life with a clean romance thrown in, then I recommend The Purple Nightgown.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
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The next installment in the True Colors series from Barbour is from a debut author I will be keeping an eye on. A. D. Lawrence introduces readers to a fasting clinic with nefarious goings-on in The Purple Nightgown.

Lawrence paints a vivid picture of Stella’s debilitating headaches and her desperation to find a cure for them. But some things are too good to be true as she soon discovers at Linda Hazzard’s spa.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around someone doing so much harm to so many people but those some people aren’t willing to leave, but that’s exactly what Linda Hazzard did. While the crimes committed are dark, Lawrence gives readers an enthralling suspense with an strong faith thread and an ending that gives us light and hope.

Disclosure statement: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
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I had to wait a good week to be able to put my words in order. I was suggested this after reading another in the True Colors series. Being historical fiction how could I say no? This is one of those books that I wanted to like more. However, what hurt it for me was the beginning and the build-up. The first half of the book dragged and then all of the action happened at the end. I liked the characters, although I did not think they were true to form per se. We have Stella who seems like perfection, I was surprised that sparrows did not dress her every morning. Of course we see into her inner most thoughts but it seemed a vast jump to have her appear cold, snobbish and spoiled to others. It did not fit. The same with Jane. All business and protective and then this heart of gold. Now, I am not saying that these things are not possible. What I did not like was how it was written, it was like a light switch, only off or on. I would have liked to have had three threads throughout. One with Stella of course, but then the children and finally the "doctor." So as the story progresses we follow each. It would have been interesting if the children's parents were victims of the good doctor. I also felt that the author could have stressed the irony of Stella starving herself to get rid of headaches while millions starve in tenements. It was there and slightly explored. The overall story was good and when we get to the sanitarium it really heats up. Before I knew that this was largely based on a true story, I do not believe the author altered many facts, I thought the author had it out for Mr. Kellogg. The lesson overall is that anyone who thinks that strawberry ice cream is bad for oneself, well, they should be avoided at all cost.
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A.D. Lawrence is a girl after my own heart with her passionate interest in true crime, and I am so glad that her debut novel is part of Barbour’s True Colors series. From the time that I first heard about the series, I knew that I would read every book; it can be difficult, if not downright impossible, to find a Christian approach to this genre, which mollifies the otherwise horrifying details and adds hope. Even though the stories are fictional, their basis stems from historical American crimes, some perhaps more disturbing than others. In my opinion, “The Purple Nightgown” fits into the “more disturbing” category, although Lawrence handles it very well, balancing the story with a beautiful romance and life lessons.

Surprisingly, I was not familiar with this particular crime story prior to reading “The Purple Nightgown.” I will be completely honest and admit that if this was not part of the series, which can be read in any order since they each cover a different crime, I may not have picked it up. As someone with a history of negative medical encounters, this was a difficult story to read at times, but that testifies to how incredibly well Lawrence has translated the experiences of the characters to the reader. I felt a connection to Stella Burke, who suffers from nearly daily debilitating migraines, because I have had long periods of uncontrolled chronic migraine throughout my life, and I empathized with her desperation to be well and to make a difference. Her close friend and chauffeur, Henry Clayton, is my favorite character for his steadfast loyalty and devotion. Certain scenes are so beautifully evocative that I had tears in my eyes. 

As for the Institute of Natural Therapeutics run by Linda Hazzard, it at first seems to stretch credulity to consider that people voluntarily submitted themselves to strict fasting regimens and tortuous treatments in order to achieve the promised perfect health. However, in some respects, not much has changed today, as people still search for the latest diet plan or take incalculable risks for the potential of improvement. Gaslighting, as we now call it, also continues to be a problem, contributing to an already burdened system. Perhaps the most shocking element is that Hazzard’s book, “Fasting for the Cure of Disease”, is available on Amazon in various formats, and the Kindle version is only $0.99! I definitely cannot recommend it. 

Despite how full of premonitions the first half to two-thirds of “The Purple Nightgown” is, the last fifty or so pages proves to be nothing short of harrowing. The edge-of-your-seat suspense bears down as the forces of God and the enemy collide and Stella finds herself forced to “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13,14). Stella is portrayed realistically, with the flaws of her wealthy upbringing as an only child, as is Henry, her opposite in status but a champion when it comes to helping others. Stella finally comes to the realization that “Though she’d chased her own pursuits, God hadn’t changed—His love hadn’t changed. He’d waited for her at the very spot she’d wandered away and welcomed her back with open arms as the father of the prodigal had his errant son.” The use of the color purple and the nightgown is inspired and significant throughout the story.

Recommended for those who enjoy true crime and who don’t mind some details thereof; while lacking anything graphic, there is necessary context within the story that may be disturbing to sensitive readers. The nickname of Linda Hazzard’s institute was Starvation Heights, after all. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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Quite honestly, I expected I would read this and enjoy it ... But I find it is too dark for me, I had hoped that I was over my true crime slump but I sadly am not (#blameiton2020) so those that like mysteries, true crime, or suspense may enjoy this book though I do not.
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The Purple Nightgown is the tenth book in the True Colors - Historical Stories of American Crime series. So far I’ve read and reviewed everyone of them. I don’t know how they can keep getting better and better, but they do. Each one, with a different author, has told a gruesome story of an actual crime. Evil is definitely rampant all over, past and present.
Stella Burke is a wealthy young heiress that is plagued with migraine headaches. She seeks help after reading a book by Dr. Linda Hazzard. Against the wishes of longtime friend and chauffeur, Henry Clayton, she admits herself into a “health spa” run by this doctor. It’s basically a starvation clinic that has its patrons walking around like skeletons. She finds out too late and has no means of escaping. What form of horror abides in this institution?
It was hard to believe this was allowed to happen. It was a very small community but the townspeople seemed to know what was going on but never reported it. What a tale that had me gripped right at the start. I read at break neck speed just because I had to know what was going to happen next. This was a new to me author but she certainly did a great job telling this true crime story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit but was not required to write a review positive or otherwise.
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Arguably the creepiest and most gruesome of the True Crime series so far, The Purple Nightgown is the fictionalized true story of Linda Burfield Hazzard. AD Lawrence writes a tautly woven story of Hazzard’s compound where she employs outrageous, torturous methods to bring “true health” to the wealthy, sickly rich. I loved seeing the gradual change of attitude in Stella, from entitlement to understanding we are all equal in God’s sight and learning to totally depend upon Him. Henry is just lovable in all his protective, caring ways. Jane’s actions surprised me.
Warning: it may be hard to sleep after reading this book! The true historical notes at the end are a real bonus. Highly recommended.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts. All opinions are my own.
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I've enjoyed the True Colors books that I've read - fictionalized stories based on historical true crimes. This one was unusual and interesting.  The author did a good job of portraying the life of a woman suffering from chronic migraine headaches, making believable the heroine's desperation and willingness to try unknown, extreme treatments.
The other characters at the spa were realistic and interesting.   I enjoyed the young hero's spunk and personality, too. 
The unregulated state of medical and therapeutic facilities was fascinating history to read. It's hard to imagine such a scenario happening now. The gruesome treatments (not for the faint of stomach) are described vividly. The whole evil plot, transitioning to theft and fraud, unfolds naturally and believably.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical mysteries and thrillers - especially medical fiction. It's a quick read, with some spiritual content.  The research is meticulous, with an interesting author's note at the end.
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Don’t Read this at night

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this debut author, but The Purple Nightgown did not leave me disappointed in any way. In fact, I may have to give it a warning.

First off, I want to go on record for saying that if this is the kind of storytelling we can expect from A.D. Lawrence, then every book she writes will be on my TBR list. There wasn’t a detail she left untouched. Her beautiful alliteration left me turning the pages well into the night, waiting for what was waiting for my imagination to gobble up next. From the tender moments between Stella and Henry to the chilling sights of “walking skeletons” in Linda Hazzard’s house of death. The story was startlingly beautiful.

The more tender moments that the author sprinkled throughout the story helped my mind settle after reading some of the horrors described in the “clinic”. Like Henry’s heart for the orphans and his willingness to teach them and care for them. Or Stella’s secret admirer’s encouraging words that help her during dark times and the laughter of her childhood with Henry. It all helped balance the good and the bad.

The one thing that struck me is how real this was. People suffered at the hand of this crazy woman, Linda Hazard. When I first saw the words, “Walking Skeletons”, my mind immediately brought up images of humans standing icy a wired fence in striped pajamas–my heart shattered. As I read the bit of history at the end, I could only wonder how much of this woman’s books did a certain ruler read and how evil does one has to be to come up with these things.

The genre says Suspense, I would call it a phycological thriller. There was so much more to this wonderful story than just sitting on the edge of your seat.

**I was given a copy of this book from the publisher through CelebrateLit Publicities. Views expressed are my own and a positive review is not required (but freely given–Bravo!).
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This series has been very intriguing and somewhat unsettling. They can be read as a stand alone book, but  I think you should read them all for the vast knowledge of historical people who were devious and uncaring. This story has all the makings of a horror film. I was so engrossed in the story that everything faded around me.

For those who suffer from migraines will understand the desperation Stella felt in seeking treatment for hers. The story is set in 1911 where modern technology had not been archived yet. Poor Stella was coming to a point where she couldn’t function and needed to find relief somehow. The author gives a little background on Stella and how her uncle was trying to marry her off. In a few short years she would inherit enough money to be set for life. I think most of the men who wanted to marry Stella only wanted her money. 

When we are introduced to Dr. Linda  Hazzard I felt chills go up and down my spine. Her unorthodox ways to cure patients were nothing short of torture. Stella believed the doctor can get rid of her migraines and signs herself in to the place that has becomes an evil prison for patients. It was hard to read the different treatments patients went through and I cringed when I read about starvation and other things I don’t want to mention. The staff was horrible and perhaps a little brainwashed. The doctor was down right crazy and alas the scripture, “the love of money is the root of all evil,” fits this story perfectly. 

Linda in her twisted mind thinks she has the cure for diseases and insists that fasting is the answer. Patients became skeletons as their lives slipped away. Linda’s plot to steal their wealth was sheer madness. Stella finds herself crying out to God for help. Her time praying and asking God for forgiveness brings her peace and strength. I loved how the author has a strong message of faith in the story and shows how we all need to never give up. He is always there with us. 

I loved Henry and his unconditional love for Stella. Although he felt like he would never be good enough for Stella he still watched out for her. They share a dream of opening a home for children  who have lost their parents and no one to care for them. Henry’s part in the story was my favorite because it depicts a person who sees past the outward appearance and sees the beauty that is inside. His determination to save Stella from the awful place she is illustrated beautifully.  When he goes to save her the story takes on a heightened tension as the staff and doctor try to stop the rescue. The story is edgy, dark and hard to forget. The author writes with passion  and with this true account of history gives hope to those who feel  alone. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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This was a very interesting read. The fact that is is also based on a true story makes it scary. That a woman could get away with what shew as doing to people is unbelievable, but it really did happen.

A.D. did a great job bringing this story to life and developing our two main characters. Although, Stella does seem a bit naïve, but I think that was the point, she was sheltered and privileged.

Henry’s love for Stella was sweet. He was so torn as to what to do an how to handle the situation he found himself in.

Overall, another good book to add to this series.

A copy of this book was given to me through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.
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The True Colors series has done it again: bringing another dark tale of true crime into an eerie and riveting read. I really enjoy the author's notes on these stories as some of them are so bizarre how can they be true history? But they are and make for some chilling reads.

This one is about a woman by the name of Linda Buzzard who touts herself as a doctor and helps people get rid of the toxins in their bodies that are making them unwell. She is really a quack and her methods are harming the patients more. 

Stella Burke is a young rich woman who suffers from debilitating migraines. I frequently get bad headaches and a migraine or two, and just reading about Stella's was giving me phantom pains. I certainly understood her reasoning of checking out Buzzard's health clinic and wanting to get rid of the pain. Unfortunately Stella did not listen to wise advice which was coming from the man who loved her. 

Henry, who is below Stella's station in life, loves her and he cannot stand to see her in pain. They grew up together and he has stuck by her side as a true friend. But he is understandably concerned when she checks into this unorthodox clinic. And the stories and rumors he is hearing is making him pretty sure he needs to rescue Stella.

Don't read this one late at night or right before bed, it is pretty creepy. And the goodness and the evil behind this woman is one for bad dreams.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
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This is book 10 of the true colors series, each book of the series is of a Historical crime that have been written about to tell the stories of the victims.  Stella suffers from migraines and is at her wits end to get better.  She reads a book about Dr. Linda Hazzard and how she has this miracle cure for every ailment. When Stella is determined to go to Dr. Hazzard and have her treatments, she has no idea that she will be starved and held against her will.  Henry who works as Stella's chauffer and is in love with Stella, totally disagrees with this and is very uncomfortable about the Dr.  Will Stella survive this treatment? Can Henry get through to Stella and save her from being mistreated?

I would recommend this book to anyone that loves a true historical mystery.  This story is very touching and is a page turner to the end.  I stayed up very very late just to finish the book, I couldn't put it down.  I was worried when starting this book that I wouldn't be able to read if it had any torturing, (not my reading), it was done in a very gentle way and kept made you feel for the people involved.  Another great book in this series, it is amazing that these stories really happened, each book makes you think and count the blessing you have.  Can't wait until the next one... what will it be about?? ...... Very well done.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, "Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.
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I am so excited to talk about another book in the True Colors series! This is the fifth book in the series I have read and it did not disappoint. In case you are wondering True Colors is a series of Historical Romance and True American Crime. The books do not have to be read in a certain order as they are all based on different crime events in history. In this one we are introduced to Linda Hazzard who ran a "clinical spa" in Washington State in 1912. 

Our fictional main characters are Stella and Henry. Stella has recently lost her father and is set to inherit her father's company once she turns of age. Her uncle is in charge of the company and doesn't let her have a say on how it is run or listen to any of her ideas. He believes she should be a dutiful wife and is constantly trying to set her up. He is a real jerk. Stella also suffers from what I would consider chronic migraines. She wants relief but cannot find it anywhere until she starts reading a book by Linda Hazzard about her amazing spa. Henry is her childhood friend and is her chauffer. He is in love with her but can't truly express his feelings for her due to his standing in society. 

Stella decides to go to the spa and while there she quickly finds out that things are not what they seemed. Strange things start happening. She sees deaths and people disappearing. She clings to God and the hope that Henry will come to her rescue. I was shocked that Linda Hazzard got away with so much for such a long period of time. 

I really enjoyed this story and it was my first by A.D. Lawrence. You can tell she enjoys writing this genre and she did some great research for it. I will definitely be adding her to my to-be-read authors list!

I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
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This true crime historical story at times proved difficult to continue reading as the author describes the horrific treatment Dr. Linda Hazzard performed at her so-called spa. I had heard of this doctor and her belief that severe fasting would cure ailments, but the insane woman pushes past propriety and performs torture on her unsuspecting patients. How could such a scheme continue so long without anyone putting a stop to it? Too often in this novel, Stella faces a black moment, with ever-increasing tension and suspense. The cruel medical staff seem to have no regard for human life. Usually, villains have some sort of redeeming quality, but not so in this book. However, the love story thread offers a redeeming hope within this tough tale, and there is also a strong faith element. The main characters seem quite alive. The author made it all feel too real—the producer of nightmares. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own. #ThePurpleNightgown #NetGalley
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This is an incredible novel of faith growing amidst horrifying circumstances! Part of Barbour’s multi-author True Colors series, I was introduced to an author I have not read before who did a fabulous job on this intriguing tale. It includes some fictional characters while highlighting true perpetrators of terrible crimes. It is very well-written, with what, under other circumstances, could be a beautiful setting. The characters are so well defined that I could feel Stella’s mounting fear and despair.

Stella had suffered from debilitating migraine headaches for several years. She has tried many doctors and remedies, and when she read of the success of fasting, she insisted on trying it. Having grown up in affluence, she has never wanted for anything except, having lost both of parents, loving interaction. When Stella learned Dr. Linda Hazzard had a clinic outside of Seattle, she was determined to go. In her defense, people who suffer from conditions resulting in chronic, debilitating pain will try almost anything, and there were few treatment options in 1911.

The doctor claimed that poor digestion was at the heart of any physical ailment, especially when one has been a meat eater. Cleansing the digestive tract would be key to getting well. For as long as it takes, the treatment included a total fast, even 40 days or more. And that was the kinder of the abuses her patients were subjected to.

Henry was an almost lifelong friend of Stella. Due to their different stations in life, Henry was the family chauffer. Most of the time she treated him as the friends they have always been. When it came to going to this clinic, which he adamantly protested, she ordered him to take her there, and lied about taking her back if something does not seem right.

Stella always wanted her life to amount to something more than being a pampered heiress, and she would come into her inheritance in just over a month. She hoped to no longer live under the restrictions of Uncle Weston. Perhaps she will even reconsider her friendship with Henry, as Weston continues to remind her of their differences.

The first day she is there, Stella peeked into a room where she heard the doctor’s voice and saw the body of a dead woman. That was only the first one; she saw one person being killed. She heard tales of things going on and saw how emaciated the women become. Still, they were denied food. Stella finally wanted to leave, but was unable to, learning that the coded wires she asked to be sent to Henry were never sent. She saw a will that had been drawn up in her name, and the doctor wearing her mother’s amethyst earrings that were stolen from her room. It will take a miracle for her to get away alive.

Stella learned much about herself during many hours of introspection; she was not who she really wanted to be. She examined her relationship with the Lord and read her Bible with a new awareness. This impressive novel has been very well-researched and written regarding the historical period, crimes, and amazing faith. The author shares who is real or based on real individuals and eases the full nature of the crimes. The ending is excellent, although it is tragic that so many lives were lost. I highly recommend this to those who appreciate well-written historical novels based on true crimes that include faith, growth, seeking God’s will, and romance.

From a thankful heart: I received a copy of this novel from Celebrate Lit through NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
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This series has been amazing! I  hadn't heard about the history behind this story before picking it up, so I found it fascinating. Well written and researched.
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