Katherine Tegen Books
October 6, 2015
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Grace Mae knows madness.
She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.
In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.
A Madness So Discreet is an amazingly readable, truly unputdownable book; it pulls you in from the very first page.
If for any reason, you doubt that a Victorian era insane asylum is not a place you want to be - especially a woman - this book will quickly and fully nullify those doubts. The pregnancy that lead to Grace being a patient is far from the only reason, not having to do with one's mental fitness, for commitment.. Just because you're in an insane asylum, it doesn't mean you're insane.
I really loved that Mindy McGinnis painted such a compelling portrait of what life was like there, at that time. From the different 'treatments' Grace undergoes - headless of her pregnancy - to ones mentioned for others and reasons why different patients are there, it is all very enlightening - and frightening.
The more we see what the staff and medical personnel are willing to do to, say to and think of Grace and the other patients, the more understandable it is why - and how - Grace is keeping her secrets.
For a woman, particularly one young and unwed - even if she is wealthy - it is not the climate for telling secrets or for expecting assistance or belief.
I loved the portrayal of Grace's new life and those it brought into her life. It was far from a perfect, happily-ever-after type remedy to her problems, but it was a remedy, nonetheless. The exploration of her character, what she believes of and about herself, what her secrets are and how she's able to have a life, was fantastic. Grace is far from the typical young woman of the era. From her pregnancy to her secrets to her asylum stays to her silence to her intelligence and will, she stands out.
This is a historical novel that really does bring you into the time period, in the ways you want to imagine and the ways you wish weren't so. All of the characters are unique, well written and play brilliant roles in the story, in the development and evolution of Grace's character and in bringing the past into fuller reality.
I am trying to avoid any and all spoilers with A Madness So Discreet as I loved (even when it was horrifying or disgusting) finding out the details of the time, meeting the characters, learning their stories and seeing out how all came together - and I want the same for you!
This historical novel, unafraid to explore the darker, disturbing aspects of its setting or its characters, is one you don't want to miss. And one you won't soon forget. A Madness So Discreet is an unforgettable novel that I recommend so very highly.
Other Books You Might Also Enjoy: Jackaby by William Ritter and The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
thank you to the publisher for my review copy via Edelweiss