ARC Review | A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

24376529Title: A Madness So Discreet
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publication: October 6th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
ISBN: 9780062320865

A Madness So Discreet

synopsisGrace 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.

reviewI received a digital review copy of this book from HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
A Madness So Discreet tells of the story of Grace, a young woman from a prominent family kept in an asylum not because she is insane but because of her pregnancy.
The beginning had a gothic and dark vibe to it. How Grace was being treated in the asylum could be a little violent but not to the point that I was put off but otherwise, intrigued. The storytelling was on point as well that it almost appears like a scene in a movie playing in my head.
I have to admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed when the book turned out to be something different from what I was expecting. The cover did give me the impression that it was a paranormal/thriller/horror book. It does have the creepy vibe, doesn’t it? I mean, look at that hand on her feet, that was the first thing I noticed! So yeah, my spine-chilling expectation for this book was kind of high. But here’s how it went for me:
*Light spoilers ahead*
The story begins with Grace in an Asylum.
Me: Asylum? This is kind of eerie.
The story mentions Grace and “a growing life” in her belly.
Me: Is she gonna have a monster baby??
Things get violent in the Asylum. The baby dies. Grace gets locked up.
Me: Ohhh. So it’s not about a monster baby, hmm, what then is it about?
Thornhollow appears. He takes Grace with him in another asylum. Together they become the Sherlock-ing duo.
Me: Eh? What just happened to something spooky?
So then, the story shifted and became a mystery instead. And it’s not the guessing game kind of mystery that I typically love reading but something I’d call a “sit and read” type. There really isn’t much effort given for the readers to figure out the identity of the culprit since it’s not really the major plot (or is it?) of the book. Don’t get confused, the story did spend a lot of time revolving around the hunt for the mystery killer but after the mystery is solved, another plot thickens and it doesn’t have anything to do with what just happened but played a big part in terms of Grace’s sanity.
The transitions in the book did have a nice flow, it went a little plateau in the middle but how the different aspects were blended in the plot made me feel like I’m watching 3 different episodes of a series.
A Madness So Discreet, EP 01: The Asylum
A Madness So Discreet, EP 02: Sherlocking at Midnight
A Madness So Discreet, Finale: A Mad Revenge
Even though story was much different from my expectation, I still enjoyed reading this book. The vibrant characters did keep me from reading this story. Also, I’m gonna give some credits for the good storytelling.



  • Grace and Thornhollow – They have this dynamic I just can’t explain. They’re like pieces from 2 different puzzles that somehow fit together. They really complement each other and just them being together had a great influence on their own character development.
“This is where we’re different, Doctor,” Grace said quietly, her fingers tracing their chalk notes. “We both look upon things that no one should see and yet do not flinch. I see the blood and think of the person it’s leaving while your mind is only on the one who spilled it. My thoughts are on the people and yours the puzzle.      “And that is exactly why I need you.”
  • “Colorful” characters – The characters in this book aren’t the typical kind. Most of them are deemed insane for different reasons and I have to say they were the bright lights of this dark read.
  • The dialogues and banters – One thing I enjoyed in this book are the dialogues. I  did pick up quite a few and bookmarked some pages (which I rarely do when reading). Even though the whole book was written in the 3rd POV and set in 1890, the author’s writing style made it light and easy to read.

Book Description and Cover Image from Goodreads

9 thoughts on “ARC Review | A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

    1. I guess the fact that it didn’t deliver much of the “thriller” I was expecting kind of restrained me from giving it a rating above 4 stars. This was actually one of my most anticipated books from Harper’s Fall catalog and my expectations where kind of high but yeah. Anyway, I did enjoy reading it but not just as much as expected but I hope you do! 🙂


  1. I had the same thoughts as you while reading the blurb and seeing the cover that it was going to be some paranormal horror thrill ride but now as it turns out that’s way off I too am a bit disappointed. With that aspect gone and hearing what the book really is about has lost some interest from me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a little sad. The cover is just beautiful and eye-catching that even that alone promises something good but the actual story turns out to be different.


  2. It’s disappointing to hear that this book didn’t pan out as expected because like you I had similar assumptions based on that eerie cover and sppoky blurb but I do still plan on checking it out. While I now know what to expect my disappointment should get in the way and hopefully I can just enjoy the ride because after all I do love mysteries!

    Liked by 1 person

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