Published: October 6th, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
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.
Well, I have to say that 'beautifully twisted' is really a very apt description of this book. When I started reading AMSD I wasn't entirely sure what to expect and the beginning is a little odd - a wealthy, pregnant Victorian teenager locked away in an insane asylum. Definitely different. However, slowly but surely you come to know Grace and to feel her pain. I'm certain that historically the scenes in the asylum are probably pretty accurate, and as such, are even more horrific.
Enter the doctor and the beginnings of a Victorian Criminal Minds' episode. Personally, as a CM fan, I found this fascinating, and the total disregard of the possibilities by the police made me wonder how we ever developed the sophisticated procedures we have now.
It's easy to get attached to Grace, Nell and Lizzie and to feel a certain admiration for Doctor Thornhollow, how is trying so hard to learn more. A Madness so Discreet was an illuminating look into the darker side of Victorian England and I found it engrossing and enjoyable. I'll be recommending this one.