In celebration for a year of Book Buddies, Lauren, Cristina, and I have prepared something special! We decided to all read a book together and do a 3 way chat. Along with that we are all giving away A copy of A Madness So Discreet! So, I hope you enjoy the chat and do enter the giveaway if you're interested. :)
A Madness So Discreet
Release Date: Katherine Tegen Books
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.
Make sure to check out Lauren's post! To see the next part of this discussion, check out Christina's post! Minor spoilers in this discussion so be aware.
K: I liked her arc too! The fact that by the end of the book she was talking and "normal" really showed great character development and I love how the author was able to incorporate that.
L: She definitely does have some psychological issues, but I wonder if they existed because of the abuse, because of her time in the asylum, because of her time with Thornhollow, or a combination of all three.
C: I think it's an interesting plot element, to show that we're all really one bad experience away from exhibiting behavior that could be worthy of being "institutionalized" by broader society. Lauren, I'd say it was probably a combination of all three!
L: It was such a huge incident for her too. It shaped her life and relationships so much. She became closed off from everyone, including the fact that she decided not to speak to almost anyone.
K: It's kind of like PSTD. When someone goes through an experience that may be traumatic, everyone automatically treats that person as if they were going to have crying fit then and there.
C: And, in turn, that behavior toward the person impacts how the person will act. Grace chose not to speak as a defense mechanism, but it ended up shutting her out from positive relationships, too.
L: I was happy when she finally opened up to Elizabeth towards the end... and the fact that she had a positive female relationship in her life. (Even if that person was considered crazy!)
K: I was so excited for that part because Nell never got to hear Grace's voice so Lizzie finally being able to was a huge step in their friendship
C: I was happy to see her develop strong female relationships at the Ohio asylum...I'd love to touch on what you bought up about the way women were treated in the book, Lauren, if you want to elaborate on that point!
L: Yes! I don't have a lot of experience with historical fiction but I know in general how women were treated terribly back then. (Of course, they still are today, but things have improved in many ways ;) ) I thought it was really interesting to see how easily a woman could be thrown into an institution like that, or how women could be murdered and no one would care.
K: The way women were treated in this book was definitely showed that this book did not take place in the 20th century. I mean, the way Croomes and Heedson treated Grace in the beginning of this book really scared me. It also sheds some light on how "insane" people are treated because people treat them as if they're animals.
L: I loved the inclusion of Thornhollow's sister and her work with early women's rights movement, too!
C: Yes, Thornhollow's sister (I think her name was Adelaide) was a nice nod to what was a still very early stage of women's rights.
C: Kaitlin, I agree her treatment was really horrific to read at the beginning.
L: I'm also not generally interested in reading books that involve pregnancy, so I wasn't sure how to feel when I saw that in the synopsis. When I learned what the circumstances were and saw how that whole incident went down, I was appalled.
Cristina: It was VERY hard to read at certain points, definitely.
K: Reading about what happened with Grace's baby took me as a complete shock because I was disgusted with the circumstances in how it happened and the fact that she had this child inside of her that had basically the same genes as her.
C: True, and it seemed the asylum staff seemed to know and didn't really seem that appalled by the circumstances of how she was impregnated.
L: It's terrible to think about. I couldn't imagine living during that time period.
Cristina: I found it interesting that Grace still felt a need to protect the baby though, despite the abuse she suffered that let to it being conceived. I think she had a strong, strong maternal instinct that extended to her relationships with others, like her sister.
K: Yeah before I found out what had really happened with that baby I felt horrible for Grace after what happened to it because it seemed like she loved that child.
L: Definitely. Like Thornhollow said, it seemed like her sister's well-being was the only thing she cared about. It was like she took on a motherly role to her sister, as well as her baby (for a short time)... maybe because her relationship with her own mother clearly wasn't positive.
K: Seeing Grace's relationship with Alice was pretty nice because I definitely feel like there aren't enough good relationships between siblings. I love how also, despite the circumstances, Grace was still able to care for her sister.
C: I think she drew power from being responsible for someone else, for saving some else. I mean, her and Thornhollow were sort of vigilantes – attempting to solve murders and all.