Remember how I had mentioned that I had placed a bunch of books on hold in the hopes that they would become available during my Christmas break from school? Well, lucky for me, I got them all now. Two days before school starts. Hooray. I’m hoping you can sense the sarcasm here. Anyways, I’m going to push through and try my best to get through everything as quickly as possible since I have no idea when I will be free next.
In the 1800s, an asylum was not simply a place for the insane, it was also a place to hide family secrets. And so, Grace Mae, daughter of prestigious Senator Mae is sent to an asylum with a bulge in her belly. Just as she began to think that her life would be spent in darkness, she found a beacon of hope – and with it, a new path. When Grace meets Dr. Thornhollow, a young doctor with an interest in criminal psychology, he sees an intelligence in her that is unlike that in any of his other patients. He immediately recruits her as his assistant where, under the guise of a madwoman, Grace can observe details of the crime scene and the potential suspects lurking in the crowds. Finally, Grace feels happy, especially once she is taken to an ethical asylum where she becomes friends with other residents. But as her adventures take her deeper and deeper towards the perpetrators of the murders she investigates, Grace must come to terms with her own demons and the madness within herself.
This was a very well-written novel. The style actually took me off guard, but perhaps that was because it has been a while since I’ve read anything historical. I liked the character of Grace and I enjoyed the story being told here. The detective was reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, whom I adore! The time line wasn’t very strict so sometimes it took me by surprise that months had gone by between one scene and the next. There were also aspects of the story that I wish I could have heard more of, such as more details about the murders and the discoveries that Grace and Thornhollow made; sometimes it felt quite passive. But overall, this was definitely an interesting read and I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good mystery with a historical background!