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.
This book is a solid ‘meh’ from me. I’m not sure what bugged me specifically, but it was a nagging in the back of my mind. Overall, though, I don’t regret reading it and would probably suggest it to others depending on their reading tastes. I struggled with the more ‘supernatural-ish’ bits in the book and also everyone was just…too progressive for the time. Which is a weird thing to be bothered by, since I agree with all of their views, but it kept pulling me out of the story. There are several relationships that I side eye, as well as character aspects that I have a hard time buying (aka come out of nowhere for no reason). The first two thirds or so of the book are pretty well paced and plotted. I bought a lot of what happened and why it happened, but then that last third kind of came from nowhere and felt overly rushed. It kind of spun away from what I thought was happening. Also, Grace’s actions re: the chemist make me scratch my head…I really want to write a spoiler here, but I won’t. I just didn’t get it, I guess.
But I did enjoy a lot of the book. Grace’s friends in the ethical asylum are a duo that I would love to hang out with. They are bright spots. The text itself is often incredibly lyrical. I can’t find my copy of the book, so I won’t put in an example, but there were many many times where I reread a passage just because it was so beautifully written.
I think my problems with the book are just that, mine. I can definitely see people loving this book so if it seems interesting to you I think you should give it a try.