Review: A Madness So Discreet – Mindy McGinnis

Posted 18 September, 2015 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 36 Comments

*I received a free copy of A Madness So Discreet from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *

Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: A Madness So Discreet – Mindy McGinnisA Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 6 October 2015
Genres: Historical, Thriller
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
4 Stars

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.

A Madness So Discreet is utterly chilling! Grace is in an asylum for the insane, but she really doesn’t belong there. The abuse she suffered before getting there, and how that abuse continued by the hand of the people supposed to take care of her made me cringe! Little by little, things changed as she was moved to another asylum, and she could use her sharp mind to help catch a killer on the lose.

My A Madness So Discreet review:

A mix between a historical mystery and thriller, as well as a very deep look at society and how easy it was to get rid of a woman in those times, A Madness So Discreet chilled me to the bone! Grace was in an asylum because of no deeds of her own, rather those who were supposed to protect and love her didn’t do their job, and then sent her away to be taken care of before her abuse could start all over again! And one part of why this story was so chilling was because some of those working at the asylum had no business being in a position of power – especially not over those who were already weak and needed nothing more than good care in order to get back on their feet.

There are quite a few triggers in A Madness So Discreet, there is incest, abuse of power, and mental illness taken advantage of just to mention some. Grace found salvation in a very unlikely place though, when a surgeon discovered her bright mind, and understood that she had nothing at all to do in the asylum in the first place. Pretending to perform a lobotomy on her so he could bring her with him to a better asylum in another state, Thornhollow was not only in charge at the asylum in Ohio, he also tried to help the police solving crimes by being a profiler of sorts. Having Grace’s sharp mind to help him find a serial killer, one who used ether on young women, but using too much, was a great help – until Grace actually did go off the deep end.

Reading A Madness So Discreet made me very happy I live in a time where it is not possible for one male relative to state that a woman is mad in order to have her put away for life! And I enjoyed the mystery as well as the darkness of the story. I don’t think this story is for everyone, though, because the psychological horror some of the women went through was depicted in such a way that it felt very real.

Written in third person point of view, past tense, A Madness So Discreet managed to show not only Grace’s inner thoughts, but other characters as well. And most of the characters had nothing at all to do in the asylum, rather, they were a different kind of burden to their family who had found an ‘easy’ way out.

Some of my favorite A Madness So Discreet quotes:

An unintelligible string of words from Β he new girl was silenced by a sharp crack. Another slew of syllables that meant nothing brought the harsh snap of a kick. Grace jammed her fingers into her ears until all she could hear was her heart as it pushed blood through her body, no matter how she wished for it to stop.

She understood babies now, and their reluctance to be born.

“True enough t the moment, but she’s down here because she nearly took the upper lip off of Croomes.”
“Only fair. I assume Croomes has been giving lip to people long before someone accepted her invitation to take it.”

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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36 responses to “Review: A Madness So Discreet – Mindy McGinnis

  1. I’m so glad the book lived up to its beautiful cover. I can easily believe you were chilled to the bone–old school asylums are SERIOUSLY creepy, but I’m pretty sure I’d like this one. Definitely moving it to the top of my October TBR (b/c for some reason I’m less of a chicken in October, LOL). Great review, Lexxie!

  2. Omigoodness. It’s unbelievable how women were once treated, Lexxie. To think of all the things men were allowed to do because some other man said a woman was hysterical or mad. And asylums were scary and dangerous places to be, I’m sure. I want to read this – I want to know all about Grace’s circumstances. And I’m also interested in meeting this doctor who took it upon himself to take Grace under his wing, so to speak. *ha* Obviously, you have me hooked. I’ll have to see about procuring this soon. πŸ˜‰
    Happy Friday, my friend!! **BIG HUGS**

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: Early Review ~ Girl Wife Prisoner ~ Hanna Peach
    • I know! It made me even happier to be a woman in the world now compared to then… With my strong opinions, I probably wouldn’t have lasted very long back in those times.
      And Grace’s circumstances were awful – but the story still so good. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one, Brandee. *BIG HUGS*

  3. I am finding out this book is very different from my initial theories, but I am also learning it still sounds like one intriguing read! Also kinda disturbing based on how women were treated, as I am hearing from reviews. So this is definitely one I will look forward to reading! Great review!

    Jessica @ a GREAT read recently posted: Follow Friday
  4. Omg I want to read this SO SO BADLY. I looooove Mindy McGinnis and I just basically want to devour everything and anything she writes. ALTHOUGH. I’m kind of scared about this one because I tend to hate historical fiction at times for the horrific sexism. Like, it’s accurate?! BUT IT BUGS ME SO BAD. And unfair story lines kiiiill me. STILL. Like I said: Mindy MgGinnis. XD I have to try it!

    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted: How Do You Decide Which Book To Devour At Dawn?
  5. I won this ARC in a giveaway, and I won’t lie and say that I am not a bit excited to read it. Thank you for the warnings on some of the triggers. It sounds like it is going to be an intense book.

    Lyn Kaye recently posted: Book Review: Inferno
  6. I’m reading this right now, so I honestly only skimmed your review… but yay, I’m so happy to see you enjoyed it!! I’m really enjoying it myself. It’s totally unlike books I normally read. I’ve only read one or two other historicals, so this is totally new to me. At first I was a little worried that I would be too emotionally bothered by the asylum setting… but I totally got into the story and it didn’t end up bothering me like I thought it would. πŸ™‚ Glad you loved it!!

    Lisa @ Lost in Literature recently posted: Let’s Chat: Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier

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