Book Talk: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Book Talk: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnisA Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegan on October 6, 2015
Genres: YA Historical Fiction, YA Mystery
Also by this author: Not A Drop To Drink, The Female of the Species
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



With a pregnant belly and family secrets buried in the depths of her mind, Grace Mae finds herself in an insane asylum in the late 1800’s. She keeps silent but her sharp mind is always alert. When she has a violent outburst she finds herself locked away in the darkest depths of the asylum next to a man who becomes her ally, as he can tell she’s a great mind, and helps her escape with a doctor who is dabbling in criminal psychology. They flee to an asylum in Ohio where they embark on their work and Grace finds friendship and strength in this new home of hers.

a2PERFECT FIRST HALLOWEEN-ESQE READ! Also, yesssss to loving another Mindy McGinnis book!!

a4I loved Mindy McGinnis’s Not A Drop To Drink so I was SO here for this book about something so completely different than that one…and I have to say I’m just so ready to read ANYTHING Mindy writes after experiencing both of these stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and could not put it down. It was a PERFECT October/Halloween read for those who don’t want scary but like a little mystery and an atmospheric setting that is equal parts dark/brutal (the mystery, Grace’s family secret, the conditions at the insane asylum) as it is heart-warming (Grace’s friends).

Specifically what I enjoyed:

  • Blend of historical fiction and mystery: I love historical fiction so I was definitely excited for this setting in the late 1800’s in Boston and small town Ohio. I hadn’t really read the blurb because I knew Mindy McGinnis + insane asylums + historical fiction was all I needed to know so I was pleasantly surprised by the thread of mystery in this one. Thornhollow reminds me of a quirky Sherlock-esque kind of character and I was so interested in their search for the killer and their delving into how the murderous mind works. I don’t want to say much but OH MAN for how the mystery ended up…not only who did it but how it all works out. GAH.
  • Insane asylum setting: Wow did Mindy McGinnis do a phenomenal job with the setting. I could picture these asylums — the cold, dark cells and the sounds of the patients. It was chilling. I just am so thankful to not have been alive in a time where it was so easy to throw women in these places for any reason that a man could say and it is their word vs the woman’s. We see two different asylums, the one from before she escapes and the one she and Thornhollow head to,  and they were pretty different from each other and I’m so glad that the bulk was spent in the more ethical asylum because the Boston asylum and their practices were just awful and I couldn’t handle Grace being there any longer.

  • Grace: Grace was such a great heroine whose story broke my heart. She’s been sent to the insane asylum by her family in order to protect a secret that could ruin their family. She’s not insane but nonetheless she’s decided to not talk and just bide her time until she knows she’ll get out. Everything about her story is heart-wrenching. I loved her and admired her strength considering all she has to endure, how she adapts, her quick mind and how she creates her own destiny from what she’s been handed (with the help of her friends, of course!).
  • the cast of characters she meets at the asylum:  I loved that Mindy took care in writing these other characters that Grace meets in the asylum — some who becomes allies, friends and co-conspirators. I really loved them all and learning their stories. I soooo want a book, or hey even a short story, to know more about Falsteed — he was SO INTRIGUING and I know there is probably so much to his story. We meet the insane and the not so insane and those in between and Mindy writes them all so wonderfully.
  • The writing: I enjoyed the writing in her debut but something about her writing was just even more striking in this novel. I kept getting lost in those words!

My only gripe is that sometimes the pacing would stall or something and I’d be not as into it but then something would remind me why this book was so compelling! It wasn’t that I expected action action action but there would be these parts where I just wanted to skim to get to something better. Also, I had hoped for better pacing regarding the mystery. It was drawn out to find the killer and then it all came together full force in a short amount of time. It was a good ending to it all but it was super fast considering how drawn out the mystery was.


factors+ setting, writing, mystery, characters
–  at times the pacing made me feel like I was slogging and then it would pique my interest again

a5historical fiction lovers, people wanting a really good atmospheric read for Fall, fans who like a little bit of mystery,

a8A Madness So Discreet was such an atmospheric and chilling, albeit not in all the ways you might expect, historical mystery. I loved the characters and the asylum setting and the dark look into the criminal mind. SUCH A PERFECT FALL READ especially if you don’t dig scary!

review-on-post-itA Madness So Discreet Mindy McGinnis review


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?



The Perpetual Page-Turner

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. OH I read this book already, and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed. At first glance, I was quite scared to read it because it wasn’t my cup of tea (which is anything with romance, and obviously this book had not much romance). But the moment I start reading, I could not put it down! And I totally agree that Thornhollow being quite Sherlock-ish, but the funnier version. I kept looking forward to his interactions with Grace! HEHE, glad you enjoyed it! 😀

  2. Hi Jamie, I haven’t read this one yet but I’m intrigued 😉 I’m wondering if romance is in this story? Light flirtation? Given the atmosphere of this book, I’m guessing no. But still, thoughts? Thanks!

  3. Historical Fiction/Mystery that takes place in asylums are my FAVORITE types of books. I ran out this weekend and scooped it up. I have to finish another book first but then I’ll start this!
    To get myself in the asylum/Halloween mood, I watched Stonehearst Asylum on netflix last night, so good!

  4. i definitely don’t dig scary, and this one does sound really good! adding it (and her other book) to my list!

  5. I LOVE mysteries/thrillers/spooky books and have had this on my fall tbr list, so I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! That seals the deal for me to read it this month.

  6. I agree! I really enjoyed the book overall, especially the feel and setting. I wished the ending had been drawn out just a bit too! I thought it ended a bit quickly and was expecting one more twist haha! 🙂

  7. I haven’t been too keen on reading this book because it seems really dark but your review has persuaded me to give it a try! Grace sounds like an amazing heroine and her friends sound delightful! I recently read a historical murder mystery (These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly) and I LOVED it, so I think I’ll enjoy this one too! Great review, Jamie! 🙂

  8. I was so impressed with this book! I already knew Mindy was an auto-read author for me after reading both of the Not a Drop books, so I was so so so thrilled that Madness lived up to those!

  9. I’m so glad I decided to read this one when I was super excited and my mood was just CALLING for it! I LOVED IT! Oh my gosh, I adored the historical aspect, the darkness of it, the hope in it. Grace was an amazing heroine, and I was impressed with her inner strength and the way she adapted to all of the situations she was in. It was horrifying reading about her time in the asylums, but the heartwarming friendships and the way Grace handled it all just made me really appreciate her character development and how everything unraveled. Speaking of unraveled, the mystery was so intriguing and I was invested in finding out WHODUNIT and whatnot. I wasn’t sure what to think about the ending, and the events leading up to it, initially but man was that good. And this left me wanting a sequel. I would love another book with Thornhollow and Grace solving crimes and HOPEFULLY FALLING IN LOVE. I need it. And oh, a Falsteed short story or book would be awesome! For so few pages he was in, he was sure an interesting character.

    I loved reading your thoughts on this one, Jamie, and I’m glad you enjoyed it too!