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Publisher's Summary

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 99", 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.

©2019 Greer Macallister (P)2019 Recorded Books

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shayla Williams
  • 24-12-20

Read it in one sitting.

Well, sort of. I went back and forth from audio to paperback, but I started at 3am, and just finished this thing. One hell of a book! I am deeply grateful that conditions have changed so much between 1888 and my own stints in psych wards a century later.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Avidreader
  • 28-10-20

Bookclub pick!

As teenagers in the late 1800s, sisters Charlotte and Phoebe were captivated by investigative journalist Nellie Bly's reported adventures. Never did they imagine Bly's expose of the deplorable conditions in an insane asylum would become relevant to their own lives. When their parents believe they have reason to commit Phoebe, Charlotte blames herself and devises a plan to rescue her older sister.

Goldengrove claims to be progressive in its time, implementing innovative treatments and using the Greek Muses as inspiration for categorizing the women's so-called ailments. The matron sternly asserts that "if God and science allow, you will be cured."  As relationships and alliances develop, Charlotte discovers why her fellow inmates have been committed. While realizing not everyone's revelations are completely trustworthy, it becomes apparent that all that may be necessary to declare a woman insane is "the word of a man who stands to benefit and a doctor willing to sell his say-so."

Charlotte soon discovers that first finding Phoebe among the patients will be a challenge, not to mention getting her out. And so, Macallister masterfully spins a complex tale, with Charlotte eventually questioning whether there are some ways in which, in spite of its terrors, the asylum frees women from the demands of society's expectations; or, as the matron puts it " . . . unable to achieve the female ideal." With a bit of romantic intrigue and a lot of historical detail this novel will make for an engaging book club selection, prompting discussion about how far we have come, yet how far we have to go to achieve justice and equality for women and for compassionate mental healthcare.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Runner girl
  • 05-11-19

Intriguing topic, naive writing

Topic was intriguing, but the writing was a bit naive, or amateur. A good story for someone who enjoys historical fiction

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nita
  • 27-08-19

Must Read

Greer has done it again! 5☆! However the narrator about destroyed it. Better to read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Megan Pingatore
  • 25-04-19

Gripping read

This is the 3rd of Greer's books that I have read and my favorite and it inspired me to go on to read 10 Days in a Madhouse. Book seems true to its time, and kept me engaged with the characters

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  • Dee
  • 09-05-19

Loved this story

Well written and the narrator is wonderful. I enjoyed the story so much and felt like I was right there with the characters.