Review #21 // A Madness So Discreet – Mindy McGinnis


After becoming pregnant, Grace Mae is put into the Boston Asylum for the duration of her pregnancy, her father not willing for his unmarried daughter to mar his name. She stays silent, until a burst of violence that sends her to the cellars-and into the arms of a soft-spoken doctor who believes that she could help him solve murders.

Why this book?: I’ve heard of it before. I’m also guilty to say that I have a class in the library, and this book was calling my name while I tried to work. I don’t have the strongest of will-powers.

Confusing writing and story-telling

A Madness So Discreet had it’s own madness between it’s pages, and most of the times I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It bothered me how the style seemed to go back and forth, the author never truly deciding how they wanted to write this story. It was fast-paced, speeding through everything-and yet, never getting anywhere.

While the book felt fast-paced, it also started way too early in the timeline. Either that, or the book wasn’t paced correctly. The parts that didn’t mean as much to the plot dragged, going through large chunks of pages, before getting to seemingly important parts and skimming over everything.

I enjoyed how McGinnis tried to weave both Grace’s story into the one of the murder cases. Seeing how Grace was affected by the cases was interesting as well, but they also held a sort of independence that, instead of effortlessly weaving together, clashed with the other.

Emotionless characters

Very few of the characters seemed human. Both Thornhollow and Grace had a detachment to them, making them come together as well as differ from the others. It made Grace’s friendships seem fake, even though I did enjoy the scenes with Mrs. Clay, Nell, and Lizzie. Adelaide was an especially good addition, even though she didn’t come in until later. Other than Grace and Thornhollow’s differences, they were very enjoyable characters-Thornhollow had an anger to him, which often came out. Grace could be vicious, if only to protect herself or others.

Knowing Grace’s story, though, I can see how her character may have seemed bland. It was nice to see that kind of problem added in, and not brushed aside or belittled. Too often those stories are forgotten, and the fact that it made it in this book as a full plotline was satisfying.

Final Rating: ★★★☆☆


I enjoyed reading A Madness So Discreet, but wasn’t blown away with it. The ending was a little rushed, and many of the characters that I liked were either brushed aside early or barely around. But I still liked the overall idea of it, and how it mercilessly showed the viciousness of a survivor.

Would I Recommend?

This book certainly isn’t for everyone. If you’re sensitive to rape, sexual abuse, and murder, than I would steer clear of this novel. But otherwise, it was an enjoyable stand-alone that I definitely appreciated.

24376529Additional Information:

Published: October 6th, 2015

Publisher: Katherine Teegan Books

Page Count: 376

Genre: Historical/Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis: via Goodreads

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.

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