The Purple Nightgown

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!).

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!

About the Author

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?

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 23

lakesidelivingsite, March 23

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 23

For Him and My Family, March 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 24

Godly Book Reviews, March 24

Through the Fire Blogs, March 25

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 25

For the Love of Literature, March 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 26

Mary Hake, March 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 27

deb’s Book Review, March 27

Pause for Tales, March 28

Remembrancy, March 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 28

Connie’s History Classroom, March 29

Genesis 5020, March 29

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, March 29

Babbling Becky L’sBook Impressions, March 30

Texas Book-aholic, March 30

Inklings and notions, March 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 31 (Author Interview)

Cathe Swanson, March 31

Older & Smarter?, April 1

Betti Mace, April 1

Rebecca Tews, April 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

Vicky Sluiter, April 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 3

Amanda Tero, blog, April 3

Blossoms and Blessings, April 3

Christian Bookaholic, April 4

Blogging With Carol, April 4

Spoken from the Heart, April 4

Splashes of Joy, April 5

Artistic Nobody, April 5 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Southern Gal Loves to Read, April 5


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.


  1. Emma

    I am really looking forward to reading this one!

  2. Roxanne C.

    Well, this review is a strong endorsement for the book, but I will certainly heed the warning to not read it at night…and perhaps not on dark, stormy day either.

    • MelissaWardwell

      If you are prone to have an elaborate imagination, I wouldn’t. I didn’t have an issue though

  3. askew001

    You had me at “don’t read this at night!” It sounds like a novel that is right up my alley. It also sounds like this spa is not one anyone would want to visit.

    • MelissaWardwell

      You would think so but the woman spun quite a tale

  4. carylkane

    Wonderful review, Melissa! I’m enjoying the True Colors series. Thank you for participating in the tour.

  5. Sonnetta Jones

    I have been slowly but surely collecting this series so I can binge read them. I want to go to the spa again and experience what the call float therapy. I never heard of it until a friend mentioned it yesterday.