Avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker, genre-omnivore.
*I received a free ARC of A Madness So Discreet from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest and unbiased review*
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.
A Madness So Discreet is utterly chilling! Grace is in an asylum for the insane, but she really doesn’t belong there. The abuse she suffered before getting there, and how that abuse continued by the hand of the people supposed to take care of her made me cringe! Little by little, things changed as she was moved to another asylum, and she could use her sharp mind to help catch a killer on the lose.
A mix between a historical mystery and thriller, as well as a very deep look at society and how easy it was to get rid of a woman in those times, A Madness So Discreet chilled me to the bone! Grace was in an asylum because of no deeds of her own, rather those who were supposed to protect and love her didn’t do their job, and then sent her away to be taken care of before her abuse could start all over again! And one part of why this story was so chilling was because some of those working at the asylum had no business being in a position of power – especially not over those who were already weak and needed nothing more than good care in order to get back on their feet.
There are quite a few triggers in A Madness So Discreet, there is incest, abuse of power, and mental illness taken advantage of just to mention some. Grace found salvation in a very unlikely place though, when a surgeon discovered her bright mind, and understood that she had nothing at all to do in the asylum in the first place. Pretending to perform a lobotomy on her so he could bring her with him to a better asylum in another state, Thornhollow was not only in charge at the asylum in Ohio, he also tried to help the police solving crimes by being a profiler of sorts. Having Grace’s sharp mind to help him find a serial killer, one who used ether on young women, but using too much, was a great help – until Grace actually did go off the deep end.
Reading A Madness So Discreet made me very happy I live in a time where it is not possible for one male relative to state that a woman is mad in order to have her put away for life! And I enjoyed the mystery as well as the darkness of the story. I don’t think this story is for everyone, though, because the psychological horror some of the women went through was depicted in such a way that it felt very real.
Written in third person point of view, past tense, A Madness So Discreet managed to show not only Grace’s inner thoughts, but other characters as well. And most of the characters had nothing at all to do in the asylum, rather, they were a different kind of burden to their family who had found an ‘easy’ way out.
An unintelligible string of words from he new girl was silenced by a sharp crack. Another slew of syllables that meant nothing brought the harsh snap of a kick. Grace jammed her fingers into her ears until all she could hear was her heart as it pushed blood through her body, no matter how she wished for it to stop.
She understood babies now, and their reluctance to be born.
“True enough t the moment, but she’s down here because she nearly took the upper lip off of Croomes.”
“Only fair. I assume Croomes has been giving lip to people long before someone accepted her invitation to take it.”