Woman 99

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I think it’s a mistake to market this book as a historical thriller – I found it to be much more slightly edgy historical women’s fiction. I enjoyed it and it’s subject matter, but felt that it was a probably a mild account of an asylum and more paced like historical fiction
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Woman 99 by Greer Macallister was an engaging quick read. I will be recommending this novel and hope to read more from this author in the future. Thank you for the opportunity.
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It’s hard to believe that women could be treated this way . But it’s historically true. Well drawn and sympathetic characters being this story to a full and satisfying read.
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Historical fiction done well, in a novel in the late 1880’s outside of San Francisco.  Charlotte does not want to marry the man her parents have chosen, mostly for a business deal.  Her sister Phoebe after defending her,gets sent to an asylum which houses both those truly in need, but also those inconvenient women their families want to hide away,those with ambition, or refusing to go along with plans established for them.  Charlotte finds a way to enter the asylum to find her sister and lead her out.  It was hard to put down as the harrowing descriptions of life for these women was told.  Recommended.
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A bit slow at first but once the characters are fleshed out, the plot picks up. Charlotte gets herself committed to a private insane asylum where her mentally ill sister is. The conditions are questionable to poor. To thicken the plot, Charlotte' s parents hope to marry her to the older son of the family who owns the asylum. Charlotte pines for the younger son.  Charlotte digs into her reserve of strength to get put in the asylum, but can she get out. Filled with the abuses of the time but also necessity of legitimate care, the Author creates a story that will stay with you.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
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Fittingly, as Charlotte sank deeper and deeper into the asylum, this book tightened it's grasp on me -- until we reached the conclusion, which was the most satisfying ending I've read in a while.
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A historical fiction story of two sisters, one of which struggles with mental illness.  In the 1800-1900's women could be put into insane asylums for a multitude of reasons, none of which had to be a mental illness.  Treatments were varied and often harsh.  This story is one woman's plight to find and help her beloved older sister.   Well-written, highly recommend to readers of historical fiction.
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This was a thoroughly satisfying novel, from the first page to the last. I got emotionally involved with ALL of the characters, and the plot pulled me through each chapter effortlessly until the very end. It is a historical novel in the sense that we learn a lot about what life was like for women in the Gilded Age, and specifically about what mental asylums were like (horrific conditions, be forewarned).  In another sense, this is a brilliant story of how we can affect change, both in our personal lives as well as in the larger realm of society and culture.  It is also a story of vivid female courage and inner strength.  Highly recommend!

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This is a story about one sister trying to free the other from an insane asylum in the late 1800's. This wasn't my favorite, but it was very well written for story line. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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After reading Macallister's first book, Girl in Disguise, I was excited to try this one. This is a fascinating story of a woman trying to free her sister, who has been committed to an insane asylum near San Francisco in the late 1800's. I love the fierce female characters in this book, and how they act to save themselves from  society's expectations and cruelty. This is great historical fiction and I can't wait to see what the author writes next.
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Following in the vein of trailblazers like Margaret Atwood, this amazing novel by Greer McAllister is sure to become an instant classic.
Set in regency era England, it follows two sisters that end up in an insane asylum, and chronicles their struggles within. 
It's a chilling work, with correlations to the famous Asylums work by Goffman, it perfectly encapsulates what it is to become a number - no longer a human, but part of the institution.
The protagonist struggles with loss of self in the face of such a harsh and unremitting institution, and has to forcibly remind herself of her own personhood., whilst facing some harsh truths about the women that are incarcerated. 
It's truly absorbing - I read it in one hit, and was left both wanting more and happy with the character and plot arc and how the book ended. 
Most interestingly, I was very happy to read the authors note, where she acknowledges the book that inspired the novel, about the real stories and testimonies of women that were inside such institutions. She says it is haunting and chilling reading, and I feel she perfectly emulated that in her book, and made me want to see out her source material for my own reading also. 
Highly recommended.
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"Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness." (Allen Ginsberg)

Perhaps defining "madness" was as elusive in 1888 as it is in today's complicated world that seems to hand you a particular roadmap from birth and beyond.

Charlotte Smith has been raised within the elite finery of Nob Hill in this affluent section of San Francisco. She and her sister, Phoebe, serve as mere pawns on their mother's gameboard that will assure them fine marriages of convenience. Phoebe has never danced to the music heard only by her mother's ear. Phoebe's rhythm entails quite anti-social behavior and sporatic reactions to the confining cadence of the day.

And it is because of this that Phoebe will find herself whisked away by force one evening. Next stop: Goldengrove, an asylum for women who find themselves off course from that aforementioned life roadmap. "Madwomen" come from all walks of life. According to the doctors there, mental illness takes a seat at the table of the rich and the poor. Perhaps a little fresh air in Napa Valley is all they need. But gentle conditions are far from what transpires at Goldengrove.

Our girl Charlotte is devastated to find out what happened to her sister. We'll begin to see the naivete surrounding her as she wishes to replicate the research done by the famous female journalist, Nellie Bly, who feigned mental illness and wrote about her experiences in an asylum. All she has to do is get herself committed and bring back ol' Phoebe. Not so fast, Innocent Dear Heart.

Greer Macallister has done a fine job with her research on the historical methods of treating mental illness, especially in women. All identity is lost and women are relegated to a chalked number on the back of their dresses.........hence Woman 99. And finding yourself in the confines of an asylum was not based on idle threats. Husbands committed wives because of new love interests. Elimination of roadblocks to financial gains was another reason. Questioning a man's authority could get you a front row seat in the asylum of his choice.

Well written, painfully honest, and filled with underlining era threads, Woman 99 is quite the read. I shudder to think what my own number would have been.

I received a copy of Woman 99 through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and Greer Macallister for the opportunity.
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