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.
Title: A Madness So Discreet
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
I want to thank Harper Teen for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review.
I will say I had no idea what this was about going into it. Honestly, I had seen the cover and thought it was incredible. Then a few of my friends read it and said it was good. Still, I didn't read the blurb. I decided the cover was enough to draw me in. And I was not disappointed! I love that I had no idea what to expect: dystopian, paranormal, historical, contemporary? And then, BAM, suddenly there's a Sherlock Holmes feel and I was HOOKED.
Grace Mae is locked away in an insane asylum. Though it doesn't seem she's insane. But she doesn't speak, and so she seems as if perhaps there really is some madness in her. Truly, she's there because she is with child, and that's just not acceptable in her circle. I loved being inside her head. While the book is written in third person, I never felt like I didn't understand what Grace was going through or where her thoughts were leading. She's an intricate and fascinating character throughout the entire book. Stronger than you might think, with just enough recklessness in her to ensure she fits in with all the crazies. But she is quick-witted, and this is truly what saves her.
She finds a companion in a doctor whose only purpose is to help the insane. But the good doctor seems to have just a bit of madness in him, as well. Enough that he takes Grace on as an assistant. Together, they attempt to solve murders the police cannot seem to put their finger on. Both have amazing minds that think completely outside the box putting together clues and figuring exactly what the law cannot. The doctor definitely comes off as a bit bizarre. And I wasn't sure of his intentions with Grace at first, but it turns out I had nothing to worry about.
Of course, Grace makes some great friends along the way who truly help her to understand her true self. And also make her feel like much more of a person than she ever did once cast out by her family.
And this wouldn't be mysterious enough if Grace didn't hold a secret about her baby and it's true nature. One which puts the fear in her she can't seem to shake. Fortunately, she has some people she can lean on, who are able to figure out her secret and try and help her work through it. I loved that her friends were really so there for her. While they are all considered "insane," you don't really feel that from them. There's nothing One Flew Over The Cuckoo's nest about this, apart from the mean staff you meet along the way.
The tone and pacing of the story was perfect. Just mysterious enough to keep me enchanted. And one of my favorite things about this book is it doesn't have any romance. This is a rare find in a YA book these days. That's not to say there aren't relationships and that you don't see things could develop. But the book is centered on the relationship between Grace and the doctor and how they are able to so easily mesh and figure things out together.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and the writing. I will say it was a bit slow paced at the beginning, which dropped my rating. But overall, I would definitely pick up another book by this author. Fans of Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, and any other who done it team, will find themselves entranced with the story in this book.
Mindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer's Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. Mindy is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary.