Woman 99 [Book Review]

March 22, 2019

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister (cover0 Image: a Woman in a red jacket and long blue skirt stands with her back to the camera looking out over a field

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.

My Summary:

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.

My Thoughts:

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


Woman 99

Woman 99 Information here

Meet the Author, Greer Macallister

Greer McallisterRaised 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!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Looking Ahead:

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.

Here’s my Spring TBR.

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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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

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  1. […] 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. […]

  2. 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.

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