“You chose to stop acknowledging a world that has treated you foully. What’s saner than that?” – Mindy McGinnis, A Madness So Discreet
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.
Eden: It’s been a while since I sat here and wrote about a book that I really, really loved. Like, yes, I loved Empire of Storms, but it wasn’t in the same way. A Madness So Discreet was beautifully written with a cast of characters that manage to win you over within the first few words they utter. I loved the writing and the plot and I think I’m officially a fan of Mindy McGinnis. 5/5 stars, but probably more than that if I’m being honest with myself.
Caitlynn: This book was just what I needed when I didn’t know I needed it. What a beautifully written story with amazing characters that I felt such a connection to. Everything about this book is fantastic and I highly recommend reading it! 4.5/5 stars!
Jenn: This book was so much more than I expected. I got this book forever ago in my Owlcrate and put off reading it. I completely regret that decision. A Madness So Discreet had every component I could ever want in a book. The characters were full and dynamic. The world was interesting and felt realistic. I gave this book 4.5/5 stars.
Jenn: I loved it. It was like Sherlock Holmes and Silence of the Lambs all wrapped into one.
Eden: I agree with that. I kept thinking it was so much like Sherlock Holmes.
J: It had that Sherlockian feel to it. Especially with Dr. Thornhollow’s snark, but it was more based off of science rather than falsifying- like Sherlock wasn’t based in any science and this was. I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Caitlynn: Me too.
E: I gave it 5 out of 5. The coveted 5 out of 5 stars. I don’t know though, I really liked this book. I liked the writing style.
J: I wanted more Falsteed. We got just enough information to make us interested in him, to like him and then nothing else.
C: I liked everything about this book. I want more. I want another one.
E: Yes. Definitely. And I think that if there is another book then we’ll get more Falsteed. Or at least I hope. His backstory was incredible.
J: Ok, so favorite parts. Not scenes but like aspects of the book.
E: My favorite part is the line on page 358 when they are in court.
J: The one you showed me?
*Jenn stumbles through trying to quote the line*
E: The line is, “I bet he added that last bit for Elizabeth. If she couldn’t get it on record that your father’s a sly son of a bitch, by God, he will.”
J: I mean, that’s exactly what I just said.
(No. She didn’t.) (What Jenn actually said: He made sure if he couldn’t- if you couldn’t get it- or that if Lizzie couldn’t get that he was a sly bastard, he’d make damn sure make sure he could.)
E: There were a lot of moments in the book where I was like, “Yeah fuck yeah!” but after that I was like Adelaide’s my favorite character now. That would have been my thought, like, “He did that because he’s trying to make her father look like an asshole.”
J: This was also the part when Eden told me to look at the quote when I got to page 356 and I got there and was like, “WHAT QUOTE?” and she’s like, “Oh, I meant 358.”
E: Yeah. I just blatantly lied about the page number.
J: I also really liked the part when Thornhollow is talking about Grace meeting his sister and she’s like, “I didn’t know you had a sister,” and his response is, “Oddly enough, like all other humans I was born from a mother and like many of my kind I’m not the only person she gave birth to. In short, I have a sister. Would you like to meet her?” It was so Sherlock.
C: That reminds me of when they were writing on the board and he stops and goes, “I just spelled sibling wrong.” I loved it because it brought such a level of humanity to him that wasn’t really there before.
E: He was embarrassed by it too.
C: Yeah and Grace is like giggling about it. It was such a good moment. There are so many great one liners in this book.
E: I was so surprised because I expected this book to be so depressing-
J: I mean it was depressing.
E: But the humor really helped keep it from getting to heavy.
J: I loved Elizabeth and String.
E: I know! I really liked String too.
C: Let me tell you. Let me tell you about String. I’m imagining two curls on the side of somebodies head.
J: I picture a floating string.
E: Me too! Just a little floating string. I loved all the scenes of her walking in the winding protecting String. *Eden acts like she’s cupping her ear*
J: I think it speaks a lot to Mindy McGinnis’ ability that Grace is mute throughout an entire conversation and you don’t even realize it. I would realize later and couldn’t believe I forgot she was mute.
E: And I loved that. I loved the writing style and how McGinnis made all of the relationships feel so natural.
E: Also, can we address the fact that our protagonist didn’t need to be saved by a man? I was expecting that to happen later in the book as Thornhollow and Grace’s relationship evolved and I was actually relieved when nothing came of it.
J: Can we come back to Falsteed really quickly.
J: I think Falsteed was a character that needed to be better explored. Mostly because I wanted more about him.
E: What do you think his letter meant at the end?
J & C: What do you mean?
E: He suggests that there is something he needs to tell her father but doesn’t actually say it. I assumed it meant that his father had cancer, based off of his backstory.
C: Oh, I thought that was more about-
E: “I haven’t told him yet,” though?
J: I think it was about Grace, like he hadn’t told him about what happened to his daughter or it could be that he’s looking to kill her father. Because remember, Falsteed used to be a vigilante.
C: Yeah, I think it’s the idea of Flasteed withholding information that her father would probably appreciate being told.
E: Hm. I don’t know, I still think it’s cancer, but obviously the letter can be interpreted in different ways.
C: We need another book.
E: Yes. That’s the truth.