Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Review- A Madness So Discreet (Mindy McGinnis)


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.



By God, Mindy McGinnis has managed to do it again.  As if her ‘Not a Drop to Drink’ duology wasn’t great enough, ‘A Madness So Discreet’ delivered everything I wanted from a slightly creepy and dark novel.

Mindy has an amazing ability to write a great novel without ever really resorting to any kind of romance as a plot device. As someone who enjoys mainly young adult novels where such conventional things occur on the regular it’s refreshing to read something without an ounce of romance in it. There was definitely an opportunity to write a romance into the plot and I’m not going to lie, a part of me kind of wanted it to happen. However, I’m so glad it didn’t. The whole character relationship dynamic would have been destroyed by blurring the lines between patient and physician and I most definitely would have frowned upon the abuse of power.

A Madness So Discreet follows Grace, a girl placed in an insane asylum with questionable standards, by her father while she is with child. Such an occurrence during this time (the setting is historical; I believe the late 1800’s) would be a ‘blackmark’ on the family name. So, she is dealt with until she can return home sans child. The poor standards and severe treatment of the patients causes a defiant outburst from Grace and she is sent to spend her remaining time in an isolated area of the asylum.  But a chance encounter with a visiting Doctor, who performs lobotomies on untreatable patients, allows her to be freed from her physical prison and taken into his care where she is moved to a much more humane facility. Her talents in noticing small detail with her brilliant mind assist the Doctor in his new fascination of solving criminology cases.

The grey areas surrounding the morality of the characters intrigued me. I love it when characters aren’t just black and white. Grace’s past experiences and the way she deals with the fallout from these, are precursors to some of her later actions. Even while she is our hero of the book and we are rooting for her, at the same time she does some questionable things.

The picture painted of mental illness and how it was ‘dealt’ with at the time is vividly accurate. I find it astonishing the things people were put away for, promiscuity, alcoholism and in Grace’s case being pregnant. The fact that a single word to a judge from a (male) family member could get you sent away is harrowing.

There are some dark moments in this book, but the satisfaction felt at the ending was…. well satisfying. The mystery behind the murders the doctor and Grace are solving have a Sherlock type vibe to them, which satisfies the detective in me.  If you’re after something a little dark and different, also dealing with a minority group this would be a good one to pick up. 

My Rating 5/5


  1. OOh nice! I've heard good things about this one! It's in my TBR pile for that reason! LOL! Glad to see you enjoyed it too! Nice review!

    1. Thank-you Jessica :) I must say it was a really good book, quite different from the normal YA.

  2. Great review! Mindy McGinnis has quickly become one of my favorites! :)

    Lauren @ Always Me

    1. Thanks! I agree, she can do no wrong in my opinion haha.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...