Release Date: October 6th 2015
Genres: 19th Century, Historical, Horror & Ghost Stories, Law & Crime, Mysteries & Detective Stories, United States, Young Adult
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.
“These are your friends now, Grace Mae. A madman who eats cancer in the dark and another who searches for a different kind of killer, the kind that smiles at you in the light of day. This is your new life. I hope you can stand it.”
McGinnis first impressed me with her dystopian/survival stories in NOT A DROP TO DRINK and IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. When I found out she was tackling something totally new I was a little hesitant, but excited. Although I had a few issues with A MADNESS SO DISCREET, I have a lot of love for the book, and I might even say I enjoyed it more than NOT A DROP TO DRINK.
A MADNESS SO DISCREET starts off a bit mysterious. Our protagonist, Grace, a seemingly normal higher class girl, finds herself pregnant in an insane asylum and the urge to find out why and what exactly is going on is strong and kept me flipping pages for a long time. I read this entire book in one sitting, and enjoyed every second of it.
I do have to say that it seemed like this book lost its way a little around the last 20% though. The story took sort of an odd turn and it felt like new goals were being introduced at the last minute, leading to them being wrapped up a little haphazardly. Still, this section was entertaining and the conclusion felt like a true resolution, even if I disagreed with how some things were handled. That doesn’t stop me from wanting more from this world though, I would absolutely love to see a companion novel HINT HINT.
The writing was absolutely fantastic. It was descriptive and imaginative, but it never slowed down the pacing or attempt to fill the pages by describing unnecessary things. Usually I have trouble finding quotes to share but here I had a problem of limiting myself on which ones to pick.
“Grace had learned long ago that
the true horrors of this world were other people.”
I found Grace and the other characters in this book to be truly refreshing, even the very minor characters. They all had depth and distinctive personalities and quirks, they feel like real people and I loved how unique they were, completely unlike any other characters I could think of.
There is no romance in this book, and it is a welcome change. I don’t think it would have worked well here since Grace is in a vulnerable place. Instead, the book focuses on Grace’s journey and internal struggles and developing friendships. It was so fun to see the different dynamic she had with each character.
There’s humor too! It was somewhat subtle and witty, but there were genuinely funny moments that fit my sense of humor perfectly, and added something extra to the story.
A MADNESS SO DISCREET is another marvelous story by Mindy McGinnis, and one of my favorite reads of 2015. Plus, it’s an especially good read for October.
“They work their discreet types of madness on us, power and pain,
and we hold to our truths in the darkness.”
Quotes from an eARC and should be checked against a finished copy.