First Lines: They all had their terrors. The new girl believed that spiders lived in her veins.
There are three book characteristics I will never turn down: 1) pirates, 2) girls playing football/being tomboys, and 3) historical insane asylums. As this had number 3 on this list, it was a shoo-in.
Grace hasn’t spoken in months. Her voice vanished the day she realized her words didn’t change her fate. She’s locked away in a Boston insane asylum, unable to forget the painful family secrets and sporting a bulge in her belly. When a burst of violence brings back her voice, Grace is banished to the cellar of the asylum. It’s there that she meets a brilliant visiting doctor who dabbles in criminal psychology. He quickly notices that Grace would be the perfect assistant. Escaping Boston for Ohio brings Grace friendship and a life she never imagined she could have. 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. (I took some of this from Goodreads, just FYI.)
Like I mentioned, I really love stories set in asylums from the 1800s. It’s the kind of setting that doesn’t feel like it should (or could) ever be real. So many doctors did unethical things because they no longer saw the insane as human. It’s unsettling and dark, the perfect setting for this book where Grace toes the line between sanity and insanity.
I really liked Grace. She’s an empathetic character. She’s not exactly crazy, but she’s the kind of person nowadays that would definitely be in therapy. Not that they had therapy then. She’s perceptive, smart, and definitely makes a lot of mistakes. It makes her more real. She has good days and she has bad days. I was really caught up in her tale.
And the minor characters! What’s not to like about a bunch of crazy characters? They never do or say exactly what you think they will. They keep everything fresh, and they have an interesting perspective on everything that happens.
The story has a mystery in it, but that definitely feels like a subplot by the end. It’s really more about Grace and her self-discovery, and how she deals with her past. Which was totally fine. I liked that a lot. I just thought this book was billed differently.
Overall, it’s a dark tale with some really awesome characters.