Friday, October 9, 2015

Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnisA Madness So Discreet
by Mindy McGinnis
October 6, 2015
384 pages

Goodreads 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.


Have you ever cringed from reading a book but can't tear your eyes away from its pages? Well that was A Madness So Discreet for me. Mindy McGinnis's writing is exceptional and hypnotizing. Despite the dark nature of the story, there's a magnetic pull that makes you want to keep going. I couldn't turn away at all.

Dark and gritty is definitely my best words to describe this book. I'm still trying to come to my senses on everything that occurred in the story. There was maybe a slight lull mid-book but soon after the plot picked up and spiraled into some intense scenes. With awful torture methods, an intelligent criminal at large and the ultimate revenge ploy, there was no shortage of excitement. "We are, all of us, the sum total of our life experience..." (ARC, p. 132). I both loved A Madness So Discreet and struggled morally with some parts.

What happened to Grace was horrific, appalling, you name it. After losing her baby (not a spoiler), she's smuggled away to a place where she's able to use her observational skills to aid in solving crimes. Though even living a new life she cannot escape the horrors of her past. Factors in her previous life are still very present in her new life. The loss of her baby, the eerie murders, her friend's failing health and mainly her sister's safety haunt her every waking moment. The inability to do anything made her anxious and arguably pushed her over the edge. Her powerlessness combined with her despair drove her to a terrible act. She crosses a line that she can never go back to and it sort of frustrates me that she got away with it. I'm not trying to justify what she did but then again, "Grief is by nature the most violent of them all." (ARC, p.252). There was certainly plenty of it swirling around her to go around.

Nell and Elizabeth provided Grace with reprieve from the horrors in her life. The two mental patients were her safe haven making her laugh and feel love once again. I enjoyed their company immensely - so entertaining when the two are bickering, especially with Nell's devious unrepentant tongue. Both girls have had a tough life (tough being an understatement) but were loyal as ever. Thank you Mindy for giving us their backstories.

Props to Dr. Thornhollow and his dedication to his studies. As irritating as it was to see the curve ball he threw near the end, I applaud him for sticking to his principles. I can appreciate a man who has ethics and believes in his work. He and his sister were adorably short-tempered with each other yet I could sense their love for each other.

As much as I hoped for a romance, there wasn't one in this book. Call me delusional but I did sense some more-than-friendly affection between the two characters? Given what Grace went through though, I can see why a love interest would be less than ideal. Her isolation added authenticity and vulnerability to the girl living in fear for/of herself. However, there's no denying that having Thornhollow around somewhat calms Grace's busy mind.

Usually I love standalone books but in the case of A Madness So Discreet, not so much. I really fancy some more action from our crime-solving duo. I'm not ready to let the curtains draw close for them yet. This book is definitely not for the faint-hearted but I urge you to give it a try if you're not afraid of darker reads and are looking for something different.

4.5 Cats
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the Advance Review Copy I received.


  1. So excited you loved this Eileen! It really was a great read and I loved all the horrifying bits. :)

  2. Oh man! I really want to get my hands on this book. It sounds so fantastic and your review has made me even more interested. I love dark and gritty so this is right up my alley. Great review!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

    1. Thanks Cassi! I hope you get it soon! I'm always around if you want to DM me your thoughts ;)

  3. OOoh nice! Excited to read this some point! So busy with so many reads lately! But this is in the TBR mountain of doom. Yes. The mountain has risen again! Great review!

    1. Hahahahaha This one's definitely worth putting it on there ;) I hope you scale that mountain Jessica!

  4. I'm really intrigued about this one and really want to get my hands on it! Hopefully soon! And no romance? I'm all for it!
    Great review Eileen!

  5. I’m so excited for this one. I just have to find the time to read it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I hope you do find time! It's one you won't want to put down once you pick it up!

  6. Ahh amazing review! I'm not really a fan of dark books and this sounds intensely dark but so good too...I might just have to give this a go! :)

    1. I'd really love to hear what you think if you do end up reading it Kyra!


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