Thrown into an asylum by the same hands that nearly destroyed her, a 19th-century girl must redefine herself and the meaning of madness to survive.
At Wayburne Lunatic Asylum of Boston, Grace is trapped in a nightmare; one patient screams all night, believing spiders crawl in her veins, and an orderly thrills at causing pain. However, the asylum pales compared to the hell she came from. Grace is not insane. Her father, a powerful politician, delivered her to the asylum after she became pregnant with a child he forced upon her. Though more horrors await her, Grace quickly decides she’ll never leave. When young Dr. Thornhollow, a specialist in lobotomies, arrives at her lowest moment, Grace begs him to set her mind free. But he recognizes a rare cleverness in her and offers to spirit her away to assist him in his new endeavor: catching murderers. However, she must pretend to be insane to remain safe. Grace soon constructs a new identity among the maddest of characters. Though mired in moments of unthinkable cruelty, Grace’s story shines. Every person she encounters, mad or trapped by the label of madness, feels achingly real. Readers will wish they could watch her and Thornhollow solve murders for pages and pages more.
A dark study of the effects of power in the wrong hands, buoyed by a tenacious heroine and her colorful companions. (Historical thriller. 14 & up)