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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2015 Mindy McGinnis (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fantastically Gothic and Gripping

If you could sum up A Madness So Discreet in three words, what would they be?

Madness is thrilling.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Madness So Discreet?

The mental patient who could smell diseases . . . for real.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Grace was thrown into the cellar of the mental institution, in complete darkness, naked, bleeding, and then the lobotomy doctor shows up.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I had an extreme reaction in that I love it so much I reached out to the author to tell her how much I loved it.

Any additional comments?

If you enjoy historicals, Gothic tales, mental illness history or asylum history plus murder mysteries with a unique factor or serial killer tales, enjoy!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Thoughtful dark Gothic

McGinnis's A Madness so Discreet is daring and engaging until her heroine begins to presume upon the righteousness of being horribly wronged. Great originality, particularly in the underground prison relationships. But the main character begins to make decisions that are both questionable for someone who has been through what she has and is fighting for survival and, hopefully, questionable for a sympathetic reader. Her arguments with her doctor and his willingness to continue to work with her under the conditions she creates in their skewed power relationship may make good feminist fantasy but also begin to wear on this reader's suspended disbelief. By the end, I was too conscious of frayed edges and unexplored possibilities to sympathize with any of the adult women characters in the book, and this also affected my rating of the narrator. Her Nell feels heavy and overblown, hard to see as the virginal victim that she actually was, and I wondered if the way the author portrayed her bordered on blaming the victim. Perhaps a lighter tone for that character might have helped me hold on to my sympathy for her and the woman who tried to help her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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loose ends.

the way the author portrayed every character was perfectly done. however it seemed there were too many loose strings. like the book was completed in a hurry. the beginning was so deep and emotional and then towards the end, it seemed so rushed. it's disappointing because it was so well written until the last couple of chapters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Credit well spent

The narration for this audiobook was pitch perfect. Each character came to life. And I will be looking for more read by her.

The story left me wanting more. From causing my to feel glad and angry. Bringing out my turns sadness and hope. I couldn't stop listening. The reason it gets four stars and not five I cannot say without revealing a spoiler so I will not. But even with my few minor issues with the plot line (which may not bother others) I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I must warn, if you can't tell from the description, this is not a feel good story. But it is intelligent and interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book!

Where does A Madness So Discreet rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being outstanding) this is a 9!

Any additional comments?

A very good book I would recommend to most anyone!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • MxH
  • San Tan Valley, AZ, United States
  • 04-07-17

Lacks Depth and Connectivity

The characters lack depth and there is little connectivity between plot points. The author might have improved the plot by using foreshadowing, but I doubt it. I felt I was reading an outline not a novel. The writing is without sophistication and nuance.

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Insane Asylum Antics

Where does A Madness So Discreet rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of my favorites!!!

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Madness So Discreet?

Her friendships with the other women inmates.

What does Brittany Pressley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her voice was perfect for Grace and she did a great job with the doctor and her friends.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Horrors in insane asylums oh my!

Any additional comments?

Brittany Pressley's narration of Grace and the doctor were perfect; McGinnis' story of insane asylums during the early 1900s, the injustices perpetrated against patients and just victims of society as a whole and the work Grace performs trying to catch a serial killer had me riveted. The plot was thick with mystery and the horrors of life in the Ohio asylum and I appreciated the change to the Boston asylum where the patients were treated as humanely as possible. Grace's friends were real and very supportive of her; it was Grace who really had to figure out who she was and what she wanted in life. A great psychological thriller, McGinnis is one of my new favorite authors!

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Great mix of mental health history and mystery

I loved Not a Drop to Drink, but this book is so much better. While short, it is not a young adult novel as it deals with mature content. McGinnis has written a great story with strong, quirky, and interesting characters. I enjoyed reading about the different asylums as well as trying to figure out what would happen next with every turn. I'm not sure if this is meant to be a series, but I hope so.

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Wonderful story and characters, iffy narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I love Mindy McGinnis. Her books have never disappointed

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Brittany Pressley?

Someone less simpering.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

I have read 2 other books by Mindy McGinnis and I wish I had bought the book instead of listening to this one. The narrator did great voices for every character except Grace! Grace came across as simpering and weak, and just plain annoying. This is disappointing as Grace really is a strong character dealing with a lot of trials.

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An incredible drama

Rarely does a book make me gasp in shock, Mindy Mcginnis drew me so deep in Grace's world. This story twists and turns and leaves you hoping for more. Bravo!