Published by Katherine Tegen (10.6.2015)
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: I own it
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.
“They work their discreet types of madness on us, power and pain, and we hold to our truths in the darkness.”
I had major problems connecting with this book. Mainly to our lead, Grace. I got no feeling whatsoever from her. In fact, it seemed as if she didn’t have feelings. She was telling the story, but she never had any emotion. Therefore, I felt nothing. I was an onlooker to this story, not part of it. I like to experience the books I read as if I were in them, and sadly I didn’t get that with this story.
Grace didn’t have much personality at all, to tell you the truth. She’s smart, sure, but she was just kind of there. Which is not good, considering this is her story. I didn’t particularly care about any of the other characters, either. Dr. Thornhollow at least had a bit more personality going for him. But the only character I really liked was Nelle. View Spoiler »Thus, of course, she’s the one that dies. *sigh* « Hide Spoiler
I did really love the asylum parts, though! I like how dark this book was, even twisted at times. That was the driving point of this story for me. Without that, I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it much. I was really liking the beginning because of the darkness of Grace’s time spent in the Boston asylum. The things that happened there that were overlooked and the way the staff treated the patients was horrible! Sadly, though, I lost some interest once she left the asylum. I feel like the plot flattened quite a bit and there wasn’t a whole lot happening.
The mystery in this book was delightful, too! You know why Grace is in the asylum, but you don’t know how. You only get little snippets here and there until the big reveal. And boy, was that messed up! View Spoiler »Her own father raped her and got her pregnant, so he shipped her off to the asylum to keep the family secret? Yikes. He got his in the end though, I suppose! « Hide Spoiler
I will say that this book was beautifully written. Mindy McGinnis has a lovely prose! I enjoyed her book Not a Drop to Drink; and while this one didn’t make much of an impression on me, I would definitely read more of her work in the future.
“We are, all of us, the sum total of our life experience.”
“To me the insane are simply people who have chosen not to participate in the world in the same manner as the majority, and there are days I wonder if they’ve got the right of it.”
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5