Woman 99: A Novel

Woman 99: A Novel

by Greer Macallister

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She's only a number now.

When Charlotte Smith's wealthy parents commit her beloved sister Phoebe to the infamous Goldengrove Asylum, Charlotte knows there's more to the story than madness. She risks everything and follows her sister inside, surrendering her real identity as a privileged young lady of San Francisco society to become a nameless inmate, Woman 99.

The longer she stays, the more she realizes that many of the women of Goldengrove aren't insane, merely inconvenient — and that her search for the truth threatens to dig up secrets that some very powerful people would do anything to kep.

A historical thriller rich in detail, deception, and revelation, Woman 99 honors the fierce women of the past, born into a world that denied them power but underestimated their strength.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492665342
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 3,969
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a novelist, poet, short story writer, and playwright who earned her MFA in Creative Writing from American University. Her debut novel The Magician's Lie was a USA Today bestseller, an Indie Next pick, and a Target Book Club selection. It has been optioned for film by Jessica Chastain's Freckle Films. Her novel Girl In Disguise, also an Indie Next pick, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which called it "a well-told, superb story." She lives with her family in Washington, DC.

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Woman 99: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
JulieB 5 months ago
A thriller and an insane asylum. Yes please!!! This is a historical drama that shows how strong a sister’s bond can be. What is a “madwoman”? It can be someone who is insane, but it can also be an unwanted wife, an inconvenient family member or even an epileptic. There were many reasons women were locked away in asylums by their husbands or other family members. I know I’ve felt a little “mad” at times, and probably would have been considered so during this time period. Insane asylum’s and mental illness fascinate me. The treatment of women during this time period and the acceptance of this behavior is absolutely jaw-dropping. The extensive details of life in the asylum and the abuse these women endured is fabulous, but horrendous. Would you let yourself be committed to save your sister? I love my sisters, but I don’t think so! Born into privilege, Phoebe and Charlotte are expected to follow a course in life, which is set forth by their mother. Act a certain way, follow rules and marry the appropriate person. But Phoebe is headstrong and emotional, prone to “fits” of mania and depression. When her mother cannot find a groom willing to wed her and Phoebe’s “fits” become too much for her mother to handle, she is taken away to Goldengrove Asylum. “Daughters were assets to be traded, like indigo, like hemp.” Goldengrove is described as a “Progressive Home for the Curable Insane”. A place where the wealthy and indigent are treated alike. “It had claimed to be a place of healing, but instead, it had been a convenient holding place for inconvenient women, serving only the people outside it, never the ones within.” Charlotte can’t bear the thought of her kind-hearted and gentle sister locked away, so she devises a plan to have herself committed and get her sister out. Due to her privileged and protected upbringing, she is naive enough to believe it will be simple to proclaim they are both “sane”, and walk out once she is inside herself. Charlotte, who has never worked a day in her life and has no life skills, is in for a rude awakening! I found the first part of the book slow, but couldn’t put it down once I got farther along. When the author started to discuss the other characters and describe the asylum, it really picked up. Some of the characters were hilarious and others were vile and despicable. I usually don’t read the notes/acknowledgements at the end, but hers were very interesting. They list books she used as research and I’ve added a few to my TBR list. Thank you to Edelweiss, Sourcebooks Landmark and Greer Macallister for this ARC, in exchange for my honest review! My Rating: 4 ⭐️’s Published: March 5th 2019 by Sourcebooks Landmark Pages: 368 Recommend: Yes.
SusanFSF More than 1 year ago
This is an incredible story of sacrifice and love that emphasizes the bond between sisters. The story takes place in the late 1800's. The life of an 'insane asylum' inmate during this time period was at times shocking and descritptively depicted in this novel. Charlotte Smith and her sister Phoebe have lived the sheltered and pampered lives as daughters of a well-to-do family. Phoebe has had some problems and their parents don't quite know what to do with her. They have arranged for a betrothal and are planning a wedding for Charlotte and the easy way out for dealing with Phoebe is to commit her. Willing to always be compliant despite her own wants and desires Charlotte can not stand to see this happen to her sister. She bravely sets out to get herself committed and sent to the same establishment. She enters the world of nightmares. There are terrible people who find pleasure or status in abusing others in different ways and they aren't even the inmates. I've read a couple fictionalized accounts of life in an asylum and have also been interested in Dorothea Dix. This book presents information that is heart rending when life is described in one of these cruel places. It is eye-opening to read of the terrible excuses for sending a female family member away because she is an inconvenience or roadblock. There are some special characters in this story along with Phoebe. The suffering Charlotte endures to find and 'save' her sister is so sad and made me angry at times. This type of story certainly can be a reminder of how far we have come in mental health care along with the rights of women. It can also remind us that we have farther to go too. I received this book from NetGalley and Sourcebooks and I want to thank them for the interesting read. This review is entirely my own opinion. I found it to be an interesting and emotional story to read.
SecondRunReviews More than 1 year ago
Wow! What a compelling read. Charlotte is a strong character and one to be admired. Her goal of saving her sister is noble. Her discoveries heartbreaking. I loved her reveries the most. They tied the past and present events together and helped quicken the passage of time. Overall, another strong historical fiction novel from Greer Macallister.
bookluvr35SL More than 1 year ago
Phoebe struggled with what we would now know as being bipolar. Rather than let her live at home and possibly disrupt her younger sister's opportunities to wed, her parents ship her off to Goldengrove Asylum. Charlotte can't bear the thought of her sister in that place, so she fakes a suicide attempt in order to be committed there as well. Then Charlotte begins plotting to find a way out of there for the both of them. This book was both horrifying and enlightening. The lack of knowledge of mental illness back then, and the ways that they chose to treat it was nothing less than barbaric. By the time I finished the book I felt as if I knew each of those women personally. It was very well written and made you feel as if you were there watching everything unfold. I highly recommend this book!
Candice_S More than 1 year ago
HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK! I had this on my TBR for awhile, and I honestly didn't know what to expect. Then I picked it up and I COULD NOT SET IT DOWN. This is one of those stories that is so relentlessly unique, intriguing and captivating that you can't help but want to burn through it all in one sitting. Set in the late 1800's, a young woman decides to get herself admitted into the insane asylum that her parents sent her sister to, in an effort to find her and bring her home. Her plan is obviously not as straightforward as she originally thinks, and she finds herself a patient in the same asylum, trying to play her cards carefully so that she can achieve her goal, while being surprised by how much she learns about herself along the way. I don't even know how to categorize this book - part suspense, part historical fiction, part women's literature. 100 percent amazing. I loved the characters, they were each so wonderfully human and interesting. I love how Greer let the characters grow and expand and mature, and ultimately, find a new path that you wouldn't expect for them. I loved the setting of the asylum which felt like a character unto itself. It was entirely amazing. I can't recommend it enough, and I have no way to do it justice in a short review. Get this book on your TBR, that's the bottom line. Its the perfect kind of read that you didn't know you needed until you are neck deep in a corrupt asylum not knowing who to trust and hoping against hope that everyone is going to get a happy ending....no matter the cost. Most importantly, god I hope someone makes this into a movie because this would be UNREAL on film!
TakingTime More than 1 year ago
4 solid stars Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Published March 5, 2019 Another great story from one of my favorite authors. Macallister has a flare for writing, like the tension in the air when a thunderstorm is brewing. With a practiced pen she brings you right into the story. Reading one of her books is like flowing through well worn grooves, expecting the best and knowing you will get it. Two, well to do, sisters on the adventure of their lives. One sister committed to an asylum by family, the other entering of her own free will. Similar to the non fiction book Ten Days in a Mad-House by Nellie Bly, this book gives a lot of detail about the treatment practices in this time period and the non-medical reasons women were institutionalized. Subjected to various forms of confinement, both solitary confinement and confinement to various man-made contraptions these women were always in peril. The asylum, and the treatment therein, made a grueling, but vivid background for this novel. This book being fiction, some truths are recorded, and some liberties were taken. However in her Author's Notes, Macallister summed up what was true and what she brought to the story.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Charlotte and Phoebe are high society sisters in San Francisco. Phoebe just does not quite fit the mold. She has outbursts and long bouts of depression. Her parents send her to a famous asylum to recover. Charlotte takes it into her own hands to save her. Charlotte pretends to be insane to enter the asylum and find her sister. This, of course, turns into more than she bargained for. Charlotte is a lot tougher than she looks. She has a determination not many women have. Not sure I could have snuck into an asylum to save anyone. She encounters many different and unique women. Some offer help and some hinder. But, Charlotte is not a quitter and she has to use her intelligence to overcome many obstacles. There were places where I expected her to do something different than she did. So, she kept me guessing. I fluctuated between 4 and 5 stars. This story starts slow and is a bit wordy. But, as the tale moves along….I could not put it down. The history surrounding the asylum really creates a story which is unstoppable. And boy, the treatments they went through had me spellbound. Give me a story about a hospital, asylum or old house and I am hooked. I received this novel from Sourcebooks via Netgalley for a honest review.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
Woman 99 by Greer Macallister Charlotte Smith is a young woman who has always tried to please her parents. It is 1888 and women really don’t have a lot of rights. She is interested in a young man but when her parents affiance her to his older brother and then her sister is sent to a mental institution and she wants to get her back...well...she takes matters into her own hand and does what she has to to get into the asylum. And, what an eye opener it was. While there she seeks her sister, meets women she realizes are not really insane, sees injustices, makes some friends and then when she is ready to leave realizes it might not be as easy to do so as she thought it would be. This is an intriguing story with twists and turns while giving an insight into the dark days of institutionalization of “lunatics”. Once inside they had no rights or recourse and often they were dumped there by family or society who didn’t understand them or want to deal with them any more. I sometimes wish that the person giving the treatment could experience it first hand but...that is not likely going to happen. Did I enjoy this book? Yes Would I read another book by this author? Yes Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC - this is my honest review. 4.5 Stars
mississippimomreads More than 1 year ago
Woman 99 is a story based in 1888 California where society daughters were brought up in finishing schools and marriages were brokered based on family connections/advantages gained from those connections... so when a daughter resists her younger sister's marriage arrangement, she is sent to an insane asylum for women. The younger sister, outraged and feeling guilty by this outcome, decides to be admitted into the same asylum with the intent of rescuing her sister from the institution. Charlotte, who doesn't reveal her name upon admittance, becomes Woman 99 in the notorious Goldengrove insane asylum. Once Charlotte is admitted, she begins to be curious about the backstories to so many 'patients' and learns that many of these women were admitted more of a matter of convenience instead of their mental health. Once Charlotte is admitted, her short term plan to "rescue and get out" proves much more difficult than she imagines. The story really grips you from the beginning and is hard to put down with so many brooding asylum attendants and especially the stone cold Matron...the lady in charge of the asylum... I enjoyed Woman 99 and I would like to thank NetGalley and SourceBooks Landmark Publishing for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
lee2staes More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book from the first page and was instantly captivated by the story. Woman 99 honors the women of the past, born into a world that denied them basic human rights but underestimated their strength. This is a fascinating story of a woman trying to free her sister, who has been committed to an insane asylum in the late 1800's. It’s time when women could be put into insane asylums for many reasons, none of which had to be a mental illness. It explains perfectly what it is to become a number, no longer a human, but part of the institution. I got emotionally involved with all of the characters, and was pulled into the plot effortlessly until the very end. Great work. I highly recommend this one. I received this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
lauriesophee More than 1 year ago
This is a story that will totally engage you as you go through the chapters! Taking place in 1888, and in an asylum for the insane; what happens when you do not belong there and find yourself entrenched in this new world? Phoebe speaks her mind. She has extreme high's and low's and finds herself suddenly placed in Goldengrove . Her sister, Charlotte wants to find and save Phoebe. Charlotte lands herself in the facility following a "crazy" stunt and begins her mission to find Phoebe with the goal of releasing her. You will read and cringe at times and yet, applaud both Charlotte and so many of the other women who have been deposited here not for insanity, but "wrong-doings"! The punishments and so called "treatments" are pure torture! Love, friendship, sisterhood, hardship and endurance are all in this book! Excellent!
Anonymous 11 months ago
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