ARC Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

A Madness So DiscreetTitle: A Madness So Discreet

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Series: Stand alone

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Genre: YA, Historical, Thriller

I was provided an egalley of this book for free from the publisher through Edelweiss. This in no way affects my opinion of the book.

I love Mindy McGinnis. I am thoroughly convinced she is my spirit animal. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that her words astound me constantly. This had me hooked from page one, seriously. Here’s your synopsis from Amazon:

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.

1. Grace is such an interesting character. Being inside her head was a little nuts for me.

Grace is put into an insane asylum because she’s a high society girl who is also pregnant. She is put in the asylum until she gives birth – the excuse being that she is on a European tour. Even though Grace herself isn’t “insane,” she is around actual insane people daily. The orderlies and doctors – even though they know why she’s there and are getting paid handsomely to treat her well – treat her just like another patient. And, if you know anything about early insane asylums, you can imagine how horribly these people were treated.Grace is an ideal patient, except for the fact that she will not speak to anyone. However, her severe mistreatment catches up with her and she eventually lands in the dark, dank cellars where she meets Falsteed – a patient himself who helps her through her literal darkest time. Falsteed introduces her to Dr. Thornhollow and the dominoes fall from there. Grace’s mind is not broken. She has a LOT of family issues, yes, but she is almost painfully intelligent and clever. She’s able to remember insane amounts of details and can figure things out just from observation. I loved that fact that she wasn’t just some poor little rich girl. She fought for what she wanted, even if it wasn’t what you expected her to want.

2. This book took a really weird turn for me. Grace kind of reminded me of a young, female Sherlock Holmes with Thornhollow acting as her equal.

In this time period, it’s strange to see a man like Thornhollow recognize the cleverness and intelligence in a woman, let alone a woman in an insane asylum. I really liked this aspect of the book not only because it was unexpected, but because they both had a lot to teach each other. Thornhollow is a fantastic doctor, but he has problems recalling tiny details while Grace is able to listen extremely close and remember crazy details.

3. I adored the friendship in this book so much. It gave me the warm fuzzies.

When Grace gets to the second asylum with Thornhollow, she sees how life could be if the patients in Boston were treated humanely. The rooms are comfortable and spacious and the patients who don’t cause problems are basically able to roam free. This is how she meets Nell and Lizzie. These two are firecrackers and totally different. Nell is a syphylitic and probably a tid bit of a nympho (which, being the time it is, is the reason she’s in an asylum). Lizzie talks to something she calls String. String tells her anything and everything – this scared her father, so he stuck her in the asylum.Nell and Lizzie show Grace what it’s like to have true friends, not friends who are chosen for her in her high society life. They are full of life and want to know everything about Grace. They are a perfect trio and warm my heart.


As a girl who generally avoids anything romantic in my reading, this made me really excited. There was definitely potential for romance between the attractive Thornhollow and Grace, but it never happened. Bless you, McGinnis! Anyway, the lack of romance left the story open for the actual story, which I LOVE. This book was so full of meticulous details and crazy awesome creepiness that there was absolutely no need for romance.

5. This book was beautifully written, true to Mindy McGinnis’s past two novels.

This woman astounds me. I met her at the Vegas Valley Book Festival and she is also a wonderful person as well as a brilliant artist. Her words are so gorgeously woven together – I am in awe of her, completely. The world building in this book was brilliant and I could see everything SO clearly in my head. McGinnis has astounded me from the first time I discovered her and I don’t know how her writing could improve at all, since I think it’s so perfect. Wow, I’m such a fangirl.

OVERALL: 5 STARS!!! I love how this book explored what is truly considered sane and what one person will do in order to escape two horrible lives that were forced upon them. The family dynamic is heartbreaking, the research that went into archaic lobotomies was both disgusting and insanely accurate, and the writing brought tears to my eyes at some points. This book not only has a gorgeous cover, but is written beautifully to match. Click the link below to preorder this – it comes out on October 6th, 2015!

Click to Preorder!


One thought on “ARC Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

  1. missprint says:

    Wow! I thought I knew what this book was about but clearly I had no idea. Great review! I am still not sure this is a “me” book but I’m excited to hear it’s a solid historical. Excited to recommend it to teens now.

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