Title: A Madness So Discreet
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publishing Information: October 6th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery, horror, thriller
Series Information: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 376 pages
Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss
Recommended For: Readers looking for an atmospheric and character driven novel filled with mystery and drama. Especially for fans of Cat Winters and gothic literature.
I loved this novel. Immensely. Months after finishing it and I still can’t stop thinking of about it. In fact, I keep checking for ANY recommendations that may come close to this gritty, suspenseful novel. I expected A Madness So Discreet to be a little creepier, just look at that cover! However I wasn’t disappointed as the setting and tone of the novel were unbelievably realistic and rather dark.
“Quite the opposite; my definition is too broad. I think we’re all quite mad. Some of us are just more discreet about it.”
The characters in this novel were fleshed out, detailed, and felt very real. I found myself feeling something for each of them, and there was more than one occasion that I found my heart broken and raw over something happening on the page. Grace had particular strength and I was completely invested in her story. Though I felt more connected to the secondary characters, Grace still shone as our main character. I loved Nell so much, she was forward with her sexuality, strength and took as much control of her own life as she was able, living confined as she was. Dr. Thornhollow was also just phenomenal, he reminded me of Sherlock in a way so clearly I loved him. I was a little concerned that he and Grace would fall in love and therefore fall into a familiar trope but NOPE McGinnis steered clear and though there were some moments I found myself swooning for the doctor, I am glad that things were kept platonic. I think in keeping things on the friendly side with these two we were better able to appreciate each character and see how well they worked together. The relationship was fitting, and deeper because of their lack of romance. Also super quick shout out to Adelaide, Thornhollow’s plucky, fantastic and blatantly feminist sister…
“So then the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merged to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which personally I think is rather a mouthful,’ Adelaide said as she set down her wineglass.
‘I’m sure others have much shorter terms,’ the doctor said, sawing into his steak with more vigor than necessary.
‘Such as?’ Grace asked.
‘There are plenty who just call us bitches, dear.”
There was a lot going on in this novel, many different threads weaved together to create something truly fantastic. I will say that there are many triggers in A Madness So Discreet. The beginning of the novel may be very hard for some to get through as it is appalling in how horrifying these patients are treated. Horrifying being my thing, I was hooked from the first sentence, but I promise that things even out a bit and it is completely worth the read.
Shelf Talker: Fantastic. The story built on itself, was never boring, and I really cared about the characters. In fact, I want more from these characters, but I saw that coming as they all complement one another and really create a great story. The ending delivered in a way that brought great closure. Though it is much more, I would say in terms of atmosphere and great characters, A Madness So Discreet can be summed up by saying, “it’s Sherlock Holmes meets Cat Winters novels.” I really, really enjoyed it.