This book’s description immediately resonated with me. I love all things turn of the century, plus I also love reading about early science and medicine.
One day, one of my fellow book blogger friend and I were discussing how much we wanted to read this book. In the end she emailed the publicist for this book and shamelessly begged for an ARC for the both of us.
Which we were so happy to receive! This book was high on my list of TBR and I was eager to get to reading. As soon as it arrived I set aside all my other books just so I could start this one first. Not only if the cover gorgeous and intriguing, but the plot was one that I couldn’t get out of my head no matter how hard I tried.
A vivid historical thriller about a young woman whose quest to free her sister from an infamous insane asylum risks her sanity, her safety and her life
Charlotte Smith’s future is planned to the last detail, and so was her sister’s – until Phoebe became a disruption. When their parents commit Phoebe to a notorious asylum, Charlotte knows there’s more to the story than madness.
Shedding her identity to become an anonymous inmate, “Woman Ninety-Nine,” Charlotte uncovers dangerous secrets. Insanity isn’t the only reason her fellow inmates were put away – and those in power will do anything to keep the truth, or Charlotte, from getting out (summary from Goodreads).
So this is a tough one for me to review. On one hand I absolutely loved it and was eager to sit up and read it late into the night, but on the other hand there were a lot of things that I didn’t think worked for me.
Let’s start with what worked. The setting and plot were exceptional. I loved reading about the asylum and the ‘patients’ that were there. It felt a little along the lines of Orange is the New Black. We get little details and glimpse into their lives and backstory which was captivating. I also thought Charlotte’s character arch and evolution were spot on and interesting.
But then there were some little things that I couldn’t help but be distracted by. One of the things was while there patient backstories were interesting, we only just scratched the surface. Same with the asylum and the treatment and condition of the patients, we got a hint but I think the author stopped at a taste instead of indulging the reader with a deeper examination of the setting.
This setting and the overall story begged to be longer and deeper. I loved the story and premise itself, but there was part of me that was expecting more. The six week time period seemed too rushed to bridge profound change in the characters. Had it been more along the lines of six months, I think that would have done a lot for not just the plot but the principle characters as well.
That said, I still enjoyed the book and found that it was a very worthwhile read and I would easily recommend it to fans of historical fiction and suspense. I just think that the author needed to take the plunge with this one and dive deeper in the plot, we only just scratched the surface.