A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis


 A Madness So Discreet
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Series: N/A
Pages: 376
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: October 6th 2015

      “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.”

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“Grace could deafen herself with her own hands and squeeze her eyes shut so tightly that the muscles in her face twitched in agony. But the acuity of her memory was a dark artist at work in her mind, painting pictures without her permission.”

Mindy McGinnis’s A Darkness So Discreet You is so beautifully written that it immediately transports the reader to a different time and place. Grace bears the marks of cruelty, from the unspeakable things a close family member did to her to the abuse she endures at the asylum where she has been temporarily committed. Pushed to her limits, Grace has given up hope, ready to embrace the darkness for good. But fate has something else in store for her when she crosses paths with the young, ambitious Dr. Thornhollow. Unsure if she is ready to embrace this new life, Grace has little choice in accepting this new apprenticeship with Thornhollow, helping him investigate and aid the authorities in catching murderers. As much as Grace would like to forget the painful past, especially when she finally feels like she belongs amongst the patients at the asylum Thornhollow oversees, Grace’s own darkness begins to surface as their investigation brings them closer to a serial killer.

McGinnis writes some of the most beautiful and descriptive prose. From the dank language used to describe the Wayburne Lunatic Asylum of Boston, where Grace is first committed, to the melancholy and detached diction used to describe Grace’s growing detachment from the horrors around her, McGinnis astounds at every turn of the page. The abuse Grace endures is sometimes hard to read, her pain heart-wrenching and her circumstances cruel, yet she shows a strength that is unparalleled. Her relationship with Thornhollow gives her purpose as the two try to climb deeper into the mind of a killer in order to catch him or her. I really liked that this relationship wasn’t necessarily romantic, even when other characters assumed as much, but both Thornhollow and Grace need the other. In all honesty, they complimented each other so much that there were times when I wouldn’t have complained had the author gone in that direction.

Grace has been suffocating her whole life, surrounded by those unwilling to listen. Thornhollow isn’t the only one who opens up a new life to her. Grace’s relationship with the other women at the asylum, particularly Elizabeth and Nell, provides her with the kind of family she’s always wanted but never had. A Darkness So Discreet also deals with the ethics of vigilantism, of dispensing justice when evil goes unpunished. This was probably the most interesting theme and I would have liked it to have been explored more deeply. Despite this, Mindy McGinnis’s novel is dark, haunting, and one of the most memorable books I’ve read this year.

Rating: 5/5


16 thoughts on “A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

  1. Seeing this novel receiving love makes me SO HAPPY! It’s definitely one of my favorite novels – basically because of all the things you mentioned – and I’m so damn excited to read other novels by Mindy McGinnis, bc I heard wonderful things about her works. One of the best things in the novel, in my opinion, was definitely the relationship between Grace and Thornhollow – I loved that this was finally a YA novel that didn’t have one bit of romance. (Though, I do ship them and am totally imagining them living together happily a few years after the novel, but at that moment in Grace’s life romance was just not a priority.)

    Wonderful review!
    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I’m dying to get my hands on The Female of the Spies and she has a fantasy being released next year that I’m really close to preordering. It was refreshing that there wasn’t a romantic dynamic between the two, but like you, I imagine a very happy ending for them down the road. Thanks so much!


  2. This book sounds insanely good. Gosh, your review covers so much, I don’t know where to begin. I was hoping to know more about the bulge in Grace’s belly (synopsis). She seems like a profound character full of deep. And, the ethics of vigilantism is a philosophical discussion that has me most intrigue. Great review, Alicia!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have seen this book around for awhile, but I never payed very much attention to it. For some reason I had it in my mind that this was a part of a series. I’m glad that it’s not, as I have been shying away from adding any more of them to my TBR, and it sounds quite good too. Thank you for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

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