So, as promised, I’m venturing back into doing reviews. Bear with me as I try out a few different formats over the next couple of weeks.
A Madness So Discreet – Mindy McGinnis
Length: 372 pages
Date Started: October 14, 2016
Date Finished: October 14, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Summary: 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.
First of all, thank you Clara for making me read this. She’s been bugging me for months and I finally was able to get my hands on a copy.
The fact that I was able to read this book in one sitting hints at why I gave it five stars. From page one I wanted to keep reading, not only to find out what happens, but to find out what had already happened. We go into this book not knowing a lot about our main character Grace’s past, only that she’s been placed in a Boston insane asylum due to a pre-marriage pregnancy. As the story unfolds, so does Grace’s horrific past, and we see her learn to handle and deal with the tragedies, eventually finding a way to overcome them.
While I will say that occasionally the plot was a little bit slow, this book makes up for what it lacks in plot with its amazing characters. Not only do we some awesome major characters, we have a host of minor characters who end up feeling just as important as our major characters. I loved watching Grace get to know all of them, discovering and falling in love with each character’s quirks and vibrant personalities. I also liked how there were very few relationships that developed instantly. It takes time for Grace to trust each person she meets, but once she trusts them, there’s no going back.
None of the characters are black and white. They’ve all done good things, they’ve all done bad things. Even the “villains” have their moments. They have good intentions, or they have justifications for their actions. There are no characters who are inherently and totally evil. There are also no characters who are entirely good, either. Our main characters do some terrible things, but they save each other from themselves just as often.
One of the strongest elements of this book is that there is little to no romance. Every character is fiercely loyal to each other, without the tropy justification of romantic love as a motivation. All the characters help Grace, help each other, simply because they care. They love each other, but it isn’t romantic love. I’m so glad that McGinnis didn’t take the opportunity to make Thornhollow a love-interest, because it makes his actions so much more genuine. He helps her and cares for her not because he is hopelessly in love with her, but because he truly despises everything that has happened to her, as well as everyone that has hurt her. He cares enough to give her distractions and be there for her while she fights off her own demons, without too much interference.
This book was not as creepy as I thought it was going to be. While there were definitely creepy aspects, they were not the main focus of the story, so it was very easy to get through without getting too freaked out. Definitely a good book for lovers of historical fiction who want a creepy Halloween read but don’t like horror.