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The Mad Girls of New York by Maya Rodale

The Story

Synopsis of The Mad Girls of New York from the publisher:

An exciting novel based on the fearless reporter Nellie Bly, who would stop at nothing to expose injustices against women in early 19th century New York, even at the risk of her own life and freedom.

In 1887 New York City, Nellie Bly has ambitions beyond writing for the ladies pages, but all the editors on Newspaper Row think women are too emotional, respectable and delicate to do the job. But then the New York World challenges her to an assignment she’d be mad to accept and mad to refuse: go undercover as a patient at Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum for Women.

For months, rumors have been swirling about deplorable conditions at Blackwell’s, but no reporter can get in—that is, until Nellie feigns insanity, gets committed and attempts to survive ten days in the madhouse. Inside, she discovers horrors beyond comprehension. It’s an investigation that could make her career—if she can get out to tell it before two rival reporters scoop her story.

From USA Today bestselling author Maya Rodale comes a rollicking historical adventure series about the outrageous intrigues and bold flirtations of the most famous female reporter—and a groundbreaking rebel—of New York City’s Gilded Age.

My Review: The Mad Girls of New York

A historical fiction novel that gives a wider audience a closer look at the treatment of women during the 19th century, The Mad Girls of New York is the beginning of an intriguing series.

Strong, fierce, resourceful is only a small selection of ways to describe Rodale’s reimaging of Nellie Bly. She readily writes a feminist depiction of women trying to prove they are not a weaker sex in a world designed for white men is in a word, refreshing. Where Rodale focuses on the cruel treatment of women in any setting across the social gambit when they do not fit their designated mold, which is a one size fits all. As Nellie Bly burns that mold to ash, readers will experience first hand the subjectification of women, including Nellie.

A Few Last Thoughts

We see this vividly in Nellie’s only way to be hired for a position at a New York news paper. Where she willingly allows herself to be placed in Insane Asylum for Women. How she herself underwent barbaric methods men used to keep women in their place because they were unwilling to understand or allow women themselves to become doctors to treat women’s mental health. Any divergency left women to the mercy of doctors diagnosing them as insane and taken away to institutions that were slowly killing them.

With investigation journalism written by women, a female character wrapped in feminist ideals, and the potential for a swoony romance (probably in the next novel… fingers tightly crossed), The Mad Girls of New York and all of its female characters will haunt you long after the final page.

Happy Reading ~ Cece

RATING: ink blotink blotink blotink blot – Exceptionally Inked

Photo Collage by Sheaf & Ink of The Mad Girls of New York

Publication Details

Pub DateISBNPage CountPublisherAge GroupSource & FormatReview Posted Online
26-Apr-22978-0593436752336BerkleyAdultNetGalley, Digital ARCFebruary 20, 2022

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Welcome Reader!

I’m Cecelia and I’m so glad you’re here! You’ll find honest reviews, book recommendations, along with other bookish essentials. So happy you stopped by!

– C

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