Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Review: A MADNESS SO DISCREET by Mindy McGinnis

Rating: 3/5 stars

DNF at 56%. 

This book has been sitting unread on my shelf for seven years. I bought it at a time when I primarily read contemporary fiction because the cover and the title intrigued me. Now I primarily read fantasy, and the cover and the title still intrigue me, but not enough that I would buy this book nowadays. Nevertheless, since I already own it, and since I’m trying to make a conscious effort to read the oldest books on my TBR, I chose it to be my next audiobook pick.

“Grace had learned long ago that the true horrors of this world were other people.”

A Madness So Discreet is about the madness that lives in all of us. Grace is a patient in an insane asylum because she won’t speak and she holds dark secrets. When her voice returns in a bout of violence, Grace gets locked in the cellar, where she meets a doctor who sees her as more than just a crazy person. Together with the doctor, Grace leaves the asylum and starts her new life in Ohio as his assistant, helping him solve crimes.

I almost DNFed this early on because you find out in the beginning that our protagonist, Grace, was pregnant via some sort of rape/incest situation, and I did not want to read about that. But the story didn’t go into detail at all about it, so I kept reading, and I’m glad I did because this book was really interesting. 

I don’t usually read many historical fiction or mystery novels, so this was a little outside of my realm of familiarity, but I still enjoyed it. I think Mindy McGinnis successfully wrote the story she set out to tell. She explores themes of madness, toxic family, abuse, and gender inequality in the 1800s. It’s a little dark at times but it’s good for what it is.

I read over half of this book. I got through the part with Grace in the asylum and her escape with the doctor. Then the entire story after that seemed to turn toward the two of them solving murder mysteries, and I lost interest. I’m trying to get better about quitting books that aren’t holding my attention, so I decided to DNF on page 205. There’s nothing wrong with the book, and I would still recommend it for the right audience, but I honestly just had no desire to continue reading the story anymore. 

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