on October 6th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
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 evilÔÇöand the madness that exists in all of us.
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis was part of October’s Owlcrate box.
I didn’t know what to expect, but after reading the blurb, I couldn’t wait to dive in and find out what the story was about.
I was hooked instantly and though the beginning was brutal and disturbing, it also drew me in from the start. Everytime I had to adult and do other things, I would sneak back into the room to read just one more chapter. The story haunted me even in my dreams, my emotional connection with the characters that intense.
It’s a very different kind of story. There is no smut or romance. Instead, it’s a bit Penny Dreadful, a bit Sherlock Holmes and absolutely, undoubtedly awesome. It’s ruthless in its honesty and made me uncomfortable at times, yet it was an out of the world read. A beautiful language was paired with a suspenseful and riveting story-line and completed by wonderful characters and sound knowledge of the matter at hand.
We meet Grace, a young woman living at the end of the 18th century, when as she is put into an asylum for the mentally insane. Let me tell you, the one Grace ended up in is not a good place to be. Between heartless nurses and cold-hearted doctors, the patients are nothing more than an inconvenience. Even more so when they speak up and don’t follow orders. Which normally isn’t a problem for Grace, who has withdrawn from the outside world, paying for the sins of others.
Grace’s situation is already hopeless and bleak, but then things even get worse, her life and sanity really at danger.
But it’s in her darkest moment that she finds a ray of light – Dr. Thornhollow. Now it’s not what you think. They didn’t fall madly in love and lived happily ever after. No, he saw more in her than most men saw in women at that time. He saw her intellect and her sharp mind, and knew her qualities would be of great help with his work solving crimes.
And that’s how Grace’s second life started. A life still in an asylum, but so much better than what she has known before.
Grace is an amazing young woman. Despite her awful past and her traumatizing experiences both before and in the mental asylum, she hasn’t lost her strength and resilience. She’s a fighter through and through. While others might have crumbled, she’s capable of emotional connections, still governed by sympathy and love for others. And even when she battles to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad, she manages to find her way back to who she really is. Her life has gained a purpose with Thornhollow needing her assistance and she’s holding on to this new path.
Thornhollow was odd, funny, and sexy in a weird way. A man of science, he isn’t really in touch with emotions and always putting science first. Well, almost always. Because though he might not be aware of that, he does have a heart, does have an emotional side. A side that makes him care for Grace, trying to protect her from any additional pain. He’s not only the key to her escape from the asylum her family locked her away in, but he’s also the one who shows her she’s more than an empty shell. In a way, he helps her save herself.
The dynamics between both of them were fantastic and often enough made me smile. Grace’s emotional response clashed with Thornhollow’s distanced and calculated one, but as different as they were in their approach to the cases they worked on, it was those differences that made them such a good team. They complemented each other perfectly. Even when they drove each other to the edge of sanity at times.
Incredibly captivating were the debates Grace and Thornhollow had about the definition of mental illness / insanity. They gave food for thought.
I loved the setting of the story. It was very atmospheric and the author’s writing made me feel like I’m right there with Grace and Thornhollow. Though A Madness Of Discreet is a work of fiction, many things are factual. The author has done a great job portraying the way mental illness has been regarded back in that time and what actually qualified as a mental illness. It was horrible to read how people with no real issues ended up locked away and how the ones who had a mental illness were treated.
It was a book that touched me deeplyÔÇöthat made me think and feel so much. It’s not one that I’ll forget easily.
6 we’re-all-a-bit-mad stars.
~Review by Paula