A journalist investigates the horrific conditions of an asylum after faking insanity in this vividly fascinating historical novel.
So thought-provoking it hurts, this is a fictional account based on the true story of US journalist Nellie Bly. She was famous for exposing the horrific abuse that took place in the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island in 1887, and at the time this was pioneering investigative journalism. Louisa Treger gives Nellie her voice and creates a simply told story where you experience her thoughts and feelings. The tale first takes you to her childhood and allows you to discover the true strength and grit that made this extraordinary woman. When entering the asylum it is difficult to comprehend the cruelty uncovered. The effect of Nellies descent into a world of pain can not be ignored. As interesting, is Nellie’s fight to be a voice in a male dominated world, not only for herself, but also the women falsely incarcerated. It is sometimes difficult to hold on to the fact that this is based on history and not a fictional flight of fancy, and so, it is successfully shocking in its impact. After finishing I wanted to find out more about Nellie beyond this stage of her life, what a woman! The clarity of the tale ensures Madwoman hammers home in this compelling and achingly absorbing read.
In 1887 young Nellie Bly sets out for New York and a career in journalism, determined to make her way as a serious reporter, whatever that may take.
But life in the city is tougher than she imagined. Down to her last dime and desperate to prove her worth, she comes up with a dangerous plan: to fake insanity and have herself committed to the asylum that looms on Blackwell's Island. There, she will work undercover to document - and expose - the wretched conditions faced by the patients.
But when the asylum door swings shut behind her, she finds herself in a place of horrors, governed by a harshness and cruelty she could never have imagined. Cold, isolated and starving, her days of terror reawaken the traumatic events of her childhood. She entered the asylum of her own free will - but will she ever get out?
An extraordinary portrait of a woman way ahead of her time, Madwoman is the story of a quest for the truth that changed the world.
|Publication date:||9th June 2022|
|Publisher:||Bloomsbury Reader an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
|Primary Genre||Historical Fiction|
Nellie Bly - what a girl! In this compelling tribute to a fearless young reporter of Victorian New York, Treger brings to vivid life the way one woman's broken past gives her the strength to expose the many horrors faced by others left to rot in an asylum. Both a pioneering writer and early icon of sexual equality, Nellie's true-life story is compassionately told in this remarkable read -- ESSIE FOX
Louisa Treger takes us deep inside the mind of an extraordinary woman, whose ambition to succeed in a male world leads her to the very brink of madness. It's a moving, absorbing, and beautifully written story, and a terrifying portrait of the fate many women suffered in the late nineteenth century. A must read! -- GILL PAUL
Lovers of historical fiction won't be disappointed. - New York Journal of Books
An intimate and intriguing portrait of a fascinating and complex woman. In Madwoman, Louisa Treger combines her talents of storytelling and imagination to bring Nellie Bly firmly out of the history books and back into the spotlight where she, and her trailblazing journalism, belong. Fabulous -- HAZEL GAYNOR
A propulsive, compelling novel of the lengths one woman will go to expose the truth about how those most in need of help are kept in danger - BookRiot
Praise for Louisa Treger: 'A daring blend of romance, crime and history, and an intelligent expose of the inherent injustice and consequences of all forms of oppression -- Tsitsi Dangarembga
A spirited account of a flamboyant life - The Times
Madwoman is one of the best, a magnificent portrayal of Nelly Bly in all her journalistic integrity and daring - NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS