Do you enjoy fiction that's inspired by real people or events? If so, then you need to check out The Mad Girls of New York by Maya Rodale. Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!
|Pub Date: 4-26-22|
Adult - Historical Fiction
It's 1887, and Nellie Bly has come to New York City in hopes of becoming a journalist who covers more than just the ladies' pages. Unfortunately for Nellie, every editor on Newspaper Row believes women aren't cut out for hard news. But Nellie has never been one to back down. In desperation, Nellie convinces one paper to take a chance on her by pitching an assignment no sane person would ever undertake: to pose as a patient at Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum for Women.
Rumors have been swirling for months surrounding the inhumane treatment at Blackwell's, but no reporter has been able to step foot inside its walls. Nellie knows she only has one shot to pull this off, so she feigns insanity and gets committed, hoping to survive inside the asylum for ten days. Nothing could've prepared Nellie for the horrific conditions she encounters. Nellie knows this could make or break her career, but when rival journalists try to scoop the story out from under her, she finds herself in a race against time and madness to make headlines first.
I went to school for journalism and had heard of Bly in classes, so I was immediately intrigued by this. I loved the idea of a fictionalized version of her life and her career and thought Rodale did a solid job with it. It felt like a nice homage to such a pioneering woman. I did wish some of the other characters felt as fleshed out as Nellie, but I still enjoyed them, especially the group of other women journalists Nellie befriends. I thought the plot itself was interesting but did drag in some places. Despite that, I was still hooked the entire time. This is a darker story, but Rodale balances it nicely with hopeful moments, and I'm interested to see where this series goes from here.