Woman 99

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

This was an interesting read. The beginning of the story is intriguing, so it hooked me right away. But as I got to know Charlotte, the main character, I found her naïveté was borderline stupidity. The lengths she went to get to her sister in order to “save” her were right down senseless. Of course she figured it out when she’s trapped in the asylum with pretty much no way out. I thought she became a better character towards the end, maybe because of the secondary characters she befriends.  It kept me thinking that the folks at the asylum probably knew who she was, but it wasn’t as simple  as that. Overall, I’d say, it was an entertaining read.
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this was something very different from what I  usually read.  It held my interest throughtout.  The story of 2 sisters from a family with  a very controlling mother.  The stronger of  the 2 having some personality problems that end up confining her to an institution.  The weaker of  the two makes up her mind to get to the  bottom of what goes on behind the closed doors.  It just goes to show how strong the family bonds are.
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This is a rather slow-paced book that seems to have been very well researched.  I had a hard time believing Charlotte had such an easy time getting herself committed (actually, I had a hard time believing she WANTED to get herself committed!) and since that's the main premise of the book, much of it didn't ring true for me.

There are some fascinating - and horrible - details about how women were treated in this time period and in particular how they were treated in these asylums.  The story itself, though, tended to drag a bit for me.

It's a fairly interesting book, but not a page-turner for me.
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This book had a slow start in the first couple of chapters but by about a quarter of the way in I couldn't put it down.
In today's world, many of the behaviors and beliefs of the characters in the book would be absolutely laughable, but for the time period covered in the book, they held true. This book may not be for readers who are not familiar with societal traditions of that time.
With that in mind though the book was thoroughly enjoyable. It brought to life the realities that women faced when receiving mental health care (for either real or imagined conditions). Men were subjected to similar treatments at asylums, however a man could place his wife or female relative in an institution for nearly any reason at all. Ill treatment BY THEIR HUSBANDS was grounds for commitment. Studying too hard, political views, asthma, or just for being poor or having no male figure to 'care for them' and so much more were all reasons for becoming a resident at the asylum. This story highlighted the state of the mental health system in those times.
But I digress...
I found the story to be a bit unbelievable at times regarding the way some women were able to move about, but I suppose every facility would have had it's unique attributes in that way...and the story is fiction, so there's that as well.
Charlotte's testimony to the conditions of the asylum and the treatments were at times difficult to read. Patients were given very little involvement regarding their health and well being and treatments were often torturous or abusive. The truth about those actions is there without a doubt. It's excruciating to think of so many people being treated that way.
I absolutely enjoyed the relationships Charlotte and others developed and could picture the individuals described. As a whole, the book reminded me of either a movie which has been made in the past, or a story which could easily fit into a movie script. I'm not sure who I would cast though. Regardless, it was a good read.
**I received an advance reader copy of this title via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.**
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I read "Woman 99" ARC through NetGalley to my delight! The story is set in the late 1890's, concerning women who have no rights and psychiatric hospitals of those days that could hold women for any reason. The main young naive character's sister is actually mentally unstable and sent away.  She gets herself incarcerated anonymously to save and free her sister, discovering many sane other patients and horrific living conditions along the way. The novel was intriguing and opened my eyes to how much change has happened in the field of mental illness. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it to any historical fiction fan!
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This book was such a pageturner for me. I fell in love with Charlotte and Phoebe as well as the rest of the girls in the asylum.
This book really opened up my eyes to the treatment of women in asylums during this time and has peaked my interest in reading Nellie Bly’s account.
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"Woman 99" tells the story of a girl who feigns insanity so she can be sent into an insane asylum in order to rescue her sister, who she believes was wrongfully imprisoned in the asylum. 
I was really excited for this story, but unfortunately I was a bit disappointed. The mystery of what happened to Charlotte's sister kept me reading, but I found it a bit boring to get through. I wish that more had happened, and that the pacing was better. Greer Macallister's writing is good, just a little too slow moving for my taste. 
There were also several racial slurs used in this book, as well as racist sentiments used, and they weren't pushed back upon nearly as often as they should have been, which should've been 100%.
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It read like a prison book, with a bunch of wrongfully convicted prisoners trying to escape. The plot unfolds gradually and characters appear throughout the novel so that you are kept glued to the pages. I liked the symmetry of the novel, how it started with the posh life of the Smiths and it ended in the same circles, but a whole world has been opened to the reader and the main character as the novel progressed.

I knew nothing of the asylum life of the 1880s in the USA; it was a well presented and researched historical bit. I don't know how much of this could have actually happened, but as a fictional account it delivered. One thing that I think is far fetched is how easy it was for Charlotte to accomplish her mission in the exact amount of time she had at her disposal. However, for the sake of entertainment, it has to be accepted. I thought the main character, Charlotte Smith, was well constructed and believable as a person, although maybe not all her successful on first try forays into the life of the asylum searching for Phoebe. The other characters are well made to fit their typology and role in the novel. All the women that joined the plot of the novel as the story unfolded were added methodically, and at no point did I face the problem of mistaking them for one another. 

Especially in the first part of the novel there are constant references to Charlotte's past life and memories of her time with Henry, the man she loved. They are included without warning in the novel, but I didn't feel that this made the reading any difficult. For some reason, the whole reading experience felt clouded; the atmosphere of the novel is a grey-ish one and even the ending felt burdened with the discoveries Phoebe and Charlotte made in the previous few weeks. It's not an easy read in that respect, but one worth the time. 

Although I saw a happy ending coming from the very beginning (because it seemed that sort of book), I was pleased with how the novel ended. If nothing had come of Charlotte's attempt to save Phoebe from the asylum I would have been disappointed. It's a suspenseful novel, gripping at times, a plot well crafted, with unexpected twists, inviting you to read more from the author. The secret, I think, is to not search faults with every aspect. As a fictional piece, it's a well done one.
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It is the late 1880's. Woman 99 is Charlotte, a woman who has faked a suicide in order to be sent to an asylum in order to save her sister. Like history, many of these patients are quite mentally sound and get abused by the staff and management. Many are sent here for any number of reasons - family, inconvenience, money, or misunderstanding. 

This novel is a quick page turner. Given the dark reality that this is based on, I would have preferred a little more darkness and grit seeing as this was how women were really treated in the time period. There were a few too many coincedences, but the novel was extremely well-written and never disinterested me. The themes of strong women and overcoming inequality were a little heavy handed at times but I still thoroughly enjoyed Charlotte's personal growth.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley for an advanced copy. It was a great read. 3.5/5!
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A story about how the bond and love between sisters is so strong one will go to extreme lengths to save the other one. The book also highlights the mistreatment of Women in mental hospitals when they were privately owned and not well regulated.
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This one just really unsettled me. I know that it will find a great audience, but because of where I am right now it I'm just not a part of that crowd. Thank you!
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Thanks to #NetGalley #Sourcebooks for a free copy of #woman99 by @theladygreer in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

What would you do for your sister?

In this histfic thriller, 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 seek help from a risky source, attempts a harrowing rescue, and risks her life. 

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 bi polar, 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? 

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.

I have thoughts about the ending. If I were discussing Woman 99 in a bookclub, these are a few questions I would ask:
* Are you satisfied with the justice or lack of justice that occurred?
*Do you think that 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?

Thoughtful themes include family loyalty, women’s rights, determination, courage, a commitment to help others, justice, and love between sisters.

Recommended for fans of gritty histfic, for readers who enjoy cheering for strong, determined, brave women, and for those who want a gripping page turner.

Review posted on blog 3/22/19 readingladies.com
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Woman 99 certainly helps one to be reminded how women in America were once merely the property of their father and after that their husband AND how if you did not follow the rules they could do as they chose in so many ways.

Charlotte has always known her sister Phoebe was different than her and those differences soon become too much for the upper crust 1888 San Francisco society they live in.   Phoebe is sent to Goldengrove, an asylum for women...those who truly might need and those who are inconvenience to those who 'own' them.  Charlotte feels she must save her as she feels Phoebe has saved her before.  Charlotte's answer is to get herself admitted and rescue Phoebe.  Under a pretense of lies and trickery, Charlotte gets into Goldengrove only to realize getting Phoebe out will not be so easy.  Charlotte meets many patients and some are there due to circumstance not any mental health issues...a not needed wife, a prostitute, a tempting woman....

McAllister writes of the asylum in such a way you feel like you are there (even in the rooms with padded walls) and your heart breaks to think that these women had NO ONE to fight for them or their freedom if someone insisted they belonged there.
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My third book by this author and I have enjoyed all of them equally.

Woman 99 is set mostly in an asylum for women in San Francisco in the late 1800's. The author has a talent for telling historical fiction as it was, with plenty of real fact spiced with her own fiction. In this book the main character, Charlotte, gets herself committed to the asylum in order to help her sister who is already there. From this we get to see how patients at that time were treated for their problems in ways that seem cruel and unbelievable today.

I enjoyed many of the characters especially some of the women in the asylum and wondered all through the book what the author planned for the delightful Phoebe. She was obviously one of the patients who did in fact need to be in care - just better care than was provided in this particular place! Of course Ms. Macallister had a solution and it was an excellent one. The ending was neat and satisfying. An enjoyable read.
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This is a pretty good story but it really left me wanting more. I had very high hopes because asylum plus 1880’s should have been something special. Macallister didn’t write a believable story and I never felt the time and place.  It was interesting enough and I wanted to see how she got herself out of the asylum so I had to see it through and I’m not mad about the journey I just don’t think I will recommend Woman 99
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Incredibly well-constructed world!  The characters of the mental institution where Charlotte has schemed to enter are given just the right amount of pathos and quirk.  Charlotte's foolish endeavor to attempt the rescue of her sister from an insane asylum from the inside is a plot-line I didn't think I could handle, but it turned into an early 1900s version of Prison Break and I loved it!
Thanks so much NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for sharing this title!
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“Freedom within Goldengrove was not the same as freedom from it”. 

Would you voluntarily risk your freedom for someone you loved, even if it meant risking your life? In Woman 99 that is exactly what was at stake when Charlotte set out to rescue her sister, Phoebe, from Goldengrove Woman’s Asylum. With a plan to have herself committed Charlotte learned first hand how different the world she knew and the world beyond the walls of Goldengrove as Women 99 were, but Charlotte was determined to rescue Phoebe at all costs. 

Let me just start out by saying how much I loved all the layers to this story. The anticipation of Charlotte’s journey left me feeling as if I was experiencing it myself. What I admired most about Charlotte was her resilience, strength and determination to rescue her sister despite the obstacles she faced. Sister was serious. 

As a fan of all things historical fiction I was shocked to learn about the harsh therapies and practices asserted on women in mental health institutions during the 1800’s. The offenses that placed women in these institutions and the cruel practices that were believed to cure in this era was alarming. I spent some time after I finished reading to learn more about Nellie Bly who went undercover in 1887 in Blackwell’s Island and her account of the treatment and conditions of asylum’s during that time and the practices are incomprehensible. Such a great read. I would highly recommend you pick up a copy. 


I want to say a special thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the ARC copy.
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What a great read. I had previously picked up a Greer McAllister book and sadly DNFd it. I’m so glad I saw this one to the end. 

Set in San Francisco at the turn of the century this book is full of historical insight, mystery and at times had me at the edge of my seat. 

I am one not to give away too much of a plot for those who like to go into books not knowing much. The things that will stay with me are character related and not plot related. The bond between the two sisters in this book and the love they have for one another. The friendships that were formed in the conditions that were present in the book. Also the topic of mental
Illness. 

Thank you so much to net galley and source books for allowing me the privilege to read and review this arc copy
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Inspired by the true story “Ten Days in a Mad-House” by Nellie Bly.  Woman 99 is the number that is given to Charlotte Smith upon entering the Goldengrove asylum of her own free will in order to break out her sister Phoebe, placed there by their parents. Although there are numerous flashbacks, the bulk of the story takes place inside the asylum.The dehumanizing conditions and pathetic methods of ‘healing’ are hard to read but patients’ ingenuity, camaraderie and survival mechanisms are believable and well-written for the most part. A bit far-fetched as far as Charlotte being able to gain access into forbidden areas/hallways/wards in the asylum with so few roadblocks.
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I got this as a read now on Netgalley. I thought I would enjoy a little historical fiction to break up my normal thriller addiction, this one fell flat for me. The writing was just ok.
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