External imageGrace 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.
First and foremost, thank you so much to Harper Collins and Mindy McGinnis for providing me an advanced copy of this book to read and review! Secondly, look at that amazing book cover that was designed by Brooke Shaden! She is one of my absolute favorite photographers and this cover just scrapes the surface of her brilliance. (Seriously, check her out.)
I will definitely admit that this book isn’t exactly what I wanted it to be. I really wanted it to be a story that delved further into the depths of the terrors in the American Asylum System in the 1800s and Early 1900s. What I got, on the other hand, was a story that kind of scratched the surface of it, but then went off on a tangent that really became about exploring the beginnings of criminal psychology and what would eventually become the subject of Criminal Minds.
I really thought that McGinnis did a great job of characterizing Grace and by hinting at the true nature of her pregnancy. McGinnis took Grace and built her family out of her as a character, and practically everyone but her sister is positively deplorable.
I really do wish that we had spent more time with the patients in the asylum in Boston, because I really think there is a wealth of information and possible storylines there. I enjoyed that McGinnis didn’t straight up name the full frontal labotomy that was taking place in the basement of the asylum, but managed to provide gritty details of the process instead. It was a great way to keep it mysterious and to show how primitive the process was without tainting the description with the loaded title of labotomy.
I couldn’t quite decide if I liked the character of the doctor, but I absolutely adored both of Grace’s friends in the asylum in Ohio. I loved that McGinnis chose to show syphilitic insanity and make it so wonderfully relatable in a world where this isn’t common anymore. This is a part of the book that also covers the topic of suicide, and I think she did it as best as she could and made the healing process for her characters so raw and emotional.
Also, the ending…JUST DESSERTS. Love it. Read the book and you’ll know what I mean.
Overall, I’m giving this book a solid 4 Bard rating!
Book Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis was originally published on A Midsummer Night’s Read