Release Date: October 6, 2015
Source: OwlCrate Box (Try OwlCrate here!)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, possibly YA
Review Date: February 29, 2016
Rating: 4 bookmarks
Synopsis: 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.
This story starts in 1890 and takes place in both Boston and a small town in Ohio. The story centers around Grace, a young woman who is found by a doctor that dabbles in criminal profiling while in a horrible insane asylum in Boston. This book has been tied that's young adult, but personally I feel that it's an adult title. Grace under the age of 18, but just barely. The subject matter of this title is definitely 100% adult.
In the Boston asylum, there's a lot of mistreatment of patients going on as well as other dreadful things that are known to happen in insane asylums during that time. Not only was it mistreatment of mentally ill, but several the patients weren't even true mentally ill people. Wives that husbands wanted to get rid, young pregnant girls hidden away in this horrible environment instead of a nunnery, and undesirable people from all walks of live. The asylum seemed like a dumping ground for people. If you were outside societal norm then you could possibly end up in an insane asylum.
The subject was serious, some of the themes were very adult, and I think that is what helped me enjoy the story even more. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if it had a younger vibe. It certainly wouldn't have been as intense. It felt like I was reading a combination of CSI and Bones. I used those two examples is because Dr. Thornhollow reminds me of how the Bones character is with with other people. He doesn't really relate to people in a normal way because he's
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The secondary characters were all well written as well. Grace's friends at the asylum in Ohio, her sister, her allies at the Boston asylum, as well as the doctor's sister, and various other characters rounded out this well developed cast.
If I had to critique one thing about this book, it would be the ending. The story was going strong in one direction then suddenly, around the last 20 percent of the book or so, the plot does a 180 and changes gears. It's no longer about catching murderers anymore, but instead it's about framing someone. In my opinion, the change in the direction of the plot wasn't very smooth and it was almost unbelievable. Don't get me wrong, said framed person deserved to be framed, but it still seemed like the book totally deviated toward the end and I wanted something else. That's all I'm going to say on it without totally spoiling it for you.
This story was engaging, it was entertaining, it was dark, and I really enjoyed it. The book club enjoyed it as well. It really provided lots of passionate conversation. It lead into discussions about women's issues from that era, as well as the healthcare system, and just how things were in the 1890's in general.
If you enjoy historical fiction, a dark mystery, and stories with components of a criminal profiling, then this will be right up your alley. It's got a lot going on and it has a unique and unpredictable ending.
“I think we're all quite mad. Some of us are just more discreet about it.”
“Sometimes the loveliest places harbor the worst monsters.”
“Sometimes the actions of the sane make no sense.”