Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Madness So Discreet

 …OR IS IT?...

{A Madness So Discreet is hauntingly beautiful; treading on the frail line between sanity and madness.}

There have been a lot of varying thoughts on this book… Some had high expectations and others- it just wasn’t their cup of tea.  I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed it!  It wasn’t really what I expected, although to be fair, I wasn’t really sure what I expected.  I was hesitant at first because I don’t usually go for this type of genre: asylums, dark, gothic.  I usually go for the fantasy, adventure, or sci-fi novels.  But the cover drew me in and sealed the deal… Let’s be real: WE ALL JUDGE BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS.  :o) Have no shame, for it is nothing but the truth!  If you were to go to a bookstore and weren’t looking for anything specific, you would tend to gravitate towards books that drew your attention based on its’ cover art. That’s just how it is done.

Despite the magnificent cover, it is a dark and twisted tale.  This book took me on quite the ride and momentarily left me without words.  There were some shocking revelations that I did not see coming.  At first, it reminded me of Law and Order.  The first third or half of the book is quite different from the rest.  In all honesty, it sort of wigged me out.  The story flows together well, it’s just a different atmosphere altogether… you’ll see what I mean.  I am so glad I didn’t give up (or get too disturbed) by the first part of the book!  The second half was much more pleasant, though still hauntingly beautiful.  It reminds me of a mix between Criminal Minds and BBC’s Sherlock.  Just wait for it.


The beginning- and frankly the first third of the book- sort of wigged me out.  It was disturbing and implanted horrific scenes in my head as to the hidden truths of the savage, inhuman way people treat others just because they can, especially when they believe they have reason to and that their actions are justified.

“They call us insane, then feed their own insanities on our flesh, for we are now less than human… They work their discreet types of madness on us, power and pain, and we hold to our truths in the darkness.”
Part of this story can be summed up as being about secrets: hidden secrets, shared secrets, secrets that haunt you in the dark and bring about the horrors and terrors of the past.  And on occasion, secrets that can connect people, in the knowledge that they are not alone in their suffering.  It was a heart-wrenching and thought-provoking tale that examines the sanity of us all.  There’s just something about it that seeps into your soul and leaves you contemplating, wondering if maybe some of us are mad, even just a little.  Perhaps we are…
I think we’re all quite mad.  Some of us are just more discreet about it.”
The book opened ideas to us about how people in general are fearful of the things that they do not understand; if they cannot understand it, then it must be absurd, unusual, irregular.  Therefore it is abnormal and strange and not what a “normal” person would do, so ‘said person’ must be “abnormal”.  And sometimes people are just forgotten: put away by family members that are ashamed of them, tired of them, or afraid of them; who don’t understand them.

It was a nice change of pace from today’s popular dragons, dystopian, and kings & queens story books.  Another nice thing is that this story focuses on Grace, no romance at all.  It’s all about just Grace: her past, her friendships, her inner-self, and her peace of mind.  *Be aware, this book does have a lot of sexual references in it.  Not because of the actual deed itself, but many times in reference to circumstances of some of the characters.  I just want you all to be in the know, because it took me by slightly by surprise, how often it came up.


I reveled in the relationship between Thornhollow and Grace!  When you first meet him, he creeps you out… like, a lot.  He seemed insane himself and I was disturbed with his practice of “relieving the insane”. But you begin to know him and understand him, and you realize it’s not so much him that’s creepy, just his job- at least the one he has at the beginning of the story.  By the middle of the book, I loved him!  He is intrigued with the criminal mind and their thought process and reasoning behind their actions.  He is cheeky, like Sherlock, and is by far not quite a people-person.  He and Grace make a perfect pair in their “crime solving” tag team.  Their conversation and banter just continues improve throughout the story, as they get to know one another and open up to each other.

“… It opens up a hole in my heart, it does.” [the Policeman said.]
“The existence of said organ still being under great question,” Thornhollow said underneath his breath.
“What’s that?”
“I said this man suffered some damage to his organs.”
“Grace’s eyes clouded as she realized something.  “I never asked you her name.”
“Janet.  Jenny.  Something like that.  I don’t know,” Thornhollow said.
“A prince of the people,” Adelaide huffed.
Falsteed was an interesting fellow and one of the first characters Grace meets.  He was a friend to Grace, as much as he could be.  He was mostly sweet but just a little creepy, too.  Especially when he starts talking about smells.  There was a kindness about him that one would not expect from someone in the dark, dank cellar of the asylum.

I adored Nell and Lizzie!  They were just the nicest girls and, sadly, unrightfully in the asylum and the most sane of the bunch in there, aside from Grace (each with their own quirky qualities).  Their relationship with each other is comical and entertaining.

“Nell,” Elizabeth chided.  “That’s no way to speak.”

“I can’t help me accent.”
“You know what I mean.”

I thought this song was really fitting for this book.  It's a little more upbeat than the book merits, but the lyrics fit so well with Grace and her forming relationship with her friends in the second half of the book (sorry for the vage comments, I'm trying not to be a spoil-sport and give away any spoilers).

{I received a free digital copy of this book for review purposes. Thank you, HarperCollins and Edelweiss!}

“We’ll try to visit them all today while your hair is twisted into this unnatural shape.  Doesn’t that hurt?”

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you that beauty is pain?” Grace asked.

“I’m much more familiar with the latter.”

“Yes, it does hurt a little.  By the end of the day there’ll be no farce involved as we try to procure headache medicine.”

Thornhollow shook his head.  “I’ll never understand.”

Grace pulled a mirror from her purse and inspected her reflection.  “Yet women do these things in order to appeal to men.”

“I didn’t say it wasn’t appealing.  I said I don’t understand it.”
“Yes, well…” Grace put a hand to her unmoving hair, and the pins digging into her scalp.  “Sometimes the actions of the sane make no sense.”

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