March 22, 2019
Woman 99 by Greer Macallister
Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Thriller, San Francisco, 1888 Asylum, Sisters
Thanks to #NetGalley @Sourcebooks for a complimentary eARC of #woman99 by @theladygreer upon my request. All opinions are my own.
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
What would you do for your sister?
In the historical fiction thriller, Woman 99, two sisters living a life of privilege suddenly find themselves in a dire situation. Their parents have committed Charlotte’s older sister to an insane asylum because of her pattern of mood swings and a recent emotional outburst. Charlotte is on a quest to rescue her sister from the insane asylum. Inspired by real-life Nellie Bly, Charlotte manages to get herself committed to the asylum by staging a fake suicide attempt. Once inside she experiences troubling events, conducts a desperate search for her sister, decides to enlist help from a risky source, attempts a harrowing rescue, and risks her life.
Mental Health in 1888: The historical reality that the story depicts is troubling. First, the inability of the medical profession in 1888 to diagnose, understand, or treat mental illness is staggering to think about when you consider all the women in history who suffered from bipolar, postpartum depression, etc. and were institutionalized because of it. Then, the fact that men could send a woman to an asylum for the remainder of her life for having an affair or voicing an opinion is almost incomprehensible! No medical diagnosis, no consent, no recourse. I can’t imagine living with this threat. Many of the women in the asylum were in this position, and the ones who truly needed to be there because of a real mental illness were not receiving effective treatment. Charlotte is determined to rescue her sister from this situation, care for her, and bring her home to live with the family again. Will she succeed?
Setting: In this engaging page-turner, I appreciated the author’s extensive research and enjoyed the vivid details in describing the asylum, treatments, living conditions, and 1888 San Francisco.
Book Club: I have thoughts about the ending. If I were discussing this in a book club, these are a few questions I would ask:
- Are you are satisfied with the justice or lack of justice that occurred?
- Do you think the justice or lack of justice that occurred is the most the women could hope for?
- Do you think the justice or lack of justice was acceptable or common in 1888?
Themes: Thoughtful themes include family loyalty, women’s rights, determination, courage, a commitment to help others, justice, and love between sisters.
Recommended: Woman 99 is recommended for fans of gritty and suspense-filled histfic, for readers who enjoy cheering for strong, determined, brave women, and for those who want a gripping page-turner.
My rating: 4 Stars
Meet the Author, Greer Macallister
Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist. Her debut novel THE MAGICIAN’S LIE was a USA Today and MIBA Indie bestseller, an Indie Next, LibraryReads, and Target Book Club Pick, and was chosen by guest judge Whoopi Goldberg as a Book of the Month Club main selection. It has been optioned for film by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films.
Macallister’s new novel GIRL IN DISGUISE is inspired by the real-life first female Pinkerton detective, Kate Warne, who was hired by Allan Pinkerton to solve cases and fight crime in 1850s Chicago. It received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and Booklist called it “a rip-roaring, fast-paced treat to read.”
Is Woman 99 on your TBR?
If you’ve read it, what do you think about the justice or lack of justice served?
Have you read other books about mental health treatment in the 1880s or other books by Greer Macallister?
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
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Next week look for a review of
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
Winter and Spring TBR
I’ll be providing my last update for my Winter TBR as I read the last two selections this week.
Links I Love
The Most Powerful Habit For Raising Smart and Kind Kids
For Library and History fans: Thirty photos of one of the smallest libraries in the U.S. in Roscoe, South Dakota.
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Great review! I do like the sound of this one. Have you read The Address by Fiona Davis? Nelly Blyth was featured in it so I’d love read some more about her. Thanks for the shout out I really appreciate it 😊
I haven’t read The Address….thanks for the rec! It’s my pleasure to recognize and share your hard work! 😘
I have this one coming up soon, Carol, and I loved reading your thoughts. It sounds like an engaging read I’ll enjoy too.
I hope you enjoy it! Very different from my usual read!
[…] Rae Reads – An Unwanted Guest & Pieces of You and Me Reading Ladies Book Club – Woman 99 Bibliobeth — The Devil Aspect Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader – Annelies For winter nights […]
Than you so much Nicki!
This sounds very powerful. Thank you for sharing your review!
Thanks for commenting! 🙌
I think you already saw my review of this book. Gritty is a good word for it!
Thanks for commenting!
[…] Woman 99 by Greer Mcallister Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller 4 Stars Find my full review here. […]
[…] Woman 99 by Greer Mccallister (ARC) (I had this on the first draft of my Spring TBR but I decided that I had to read it earlier than spring because I ended up receiving it as an ARC and publishers expect reviewers to publish reviews close to the pub date). Blog review here. […]
[…] Woman 99 by Greer Mccallister 4 Stars […]
[…] Rescue from an asylum . My review of Woman 99 here. […]
[…] In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a review of Woman 99 by Greer Macallister. […]
Ooh maybe not, this one sounds interesting. Asylums were a duming ground
I recently added this to my TBR and it is teetering to drop into my lap soon. I love your review Carol. This is an area that I have read about in other books and always get so angry about it. It is good to read about someone who tried to do something for someone. Did you read The Rose Code? That is one of the issues in that book. I also want to read more about Nellie Bly as well.
Oh yes…,Rose Code did remind me of this story! Same break her out premise!
[…] intrigued by this biography because of histfic books I’ve read with similar themes including Woman 99 and The Rose […]
[…] come! What a nightmare scenario for women! I became intrigued with this subject after I read Woman 99 by Greer Macallister. In that story, a daughter is commited to an insane asylum for being too emotional and her sister […]
[…] Woman 99 by Greer Macallister […]
[…] who were committed to insane asylums on a word from their husbands or fathers. See my reviews for Woman 99 (histfic) and The Woman They Could Not Silence (narrative nonfiction). “Mr. Dowling’s […]
[…] The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore paired with Woman 99 by Greer Macallister […]