Title: Woman 99
Author: Greer Macallister
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Page Length: 368
Genre: Historical Fiction (1800s)
Age Range: Adult
Triggers: Mental Health, Abuse
Goodreads Synopsis: A vivid historical thriller about a young woman whose quest to free her sister from an infamous insane asylum risks her sanity, her safety and her life
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 Ninety-Nine,” 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.
*This eARC was provided to me by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was interesting. I ended up listening to the audiobook since I wasn’t able to get to the eARC prior to publishing. The voice actress was good and kept me interesting, but the story overall wasn’t what I was expecting.
When I first requested this eARC I had expected something along the lines of A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. This was not the case. The only similarities between the two was the setting, an asylum. This story has Charlotte willingly committed to an asylum to rescue her sister. This asylum, we learn, has started to become more of a business and less concerned with helping the inmates. They even provide numbers to them, hence the name, instead of using their real names. This all women asylum has different sections depending the “diagnosis” – some are not illnesses, which was normal for that era (being an adulteress or a sex worker was cause for commitment; or if the husband wanted to be with another – just send the wife to the asylum to get her out of the way). We follow Charlotte as she traverses through the different sections, sometimes by being transferred and other times through exploring.
I didn’t feel suspenseful during this story – whether that was because I fully expected the sisters to meet and escape or just because of the writing itself. I have seen others categorize it as a mystery, but I believe that is simply because Charlotte needs to locate her sister within the asylum and free her. We meet many characters within the asylum, mostly inmates.
Some were interesting, but others fell into the background. I didn’t feel a large connection with any of the characters, even Charlotte. I didn’t fear for her or learn anything new about the institute. Maybe the problem was more me since I have a background in psychology and because I had expected something different. Overall, the book was fine. If you like historical fiction and curious about past conditions of a women’s asylum then this book may be what you are looking for. I’m curious to read more from Greer Macallister though.