Cover image for Woman 99 : a novel / Greer Macallister.
Title:
Woman 99 : a novel / Greer Macallister.
Title Variants:
Woman ninety nine
ISBN:
9781492665335
Publication Information:
Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Landmark, [2019]

©2019
Physical Description:
350 pages ; 24 cm
Abstract:
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 keep.-- Publisher's description.
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Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

Greer Macallister received a MFA in creative writing at American University. She is a poet, short story writer, and playwright. Her work has appeared in several publications including The North American Review, The Missouri Review, and The Messenger. Her first novel, The Magician's Lie, was published in 2015.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Macallister's spellbinding novel (after The Magician's Lie), set in 1888, a San Francisco society woman discovers horrifying treatment of patients after getting herself admitted to an asylum with hopes of freeing her sister. Charlotte Smith is devastated when her beloved sister, Phoebe, is sent to Goldengrove, supposedly an oasis of progressive treatment for mentally ill women. Inspired by Nellie Bly's undercover reporting, Charlotte uses the cover of a leap off an ocean pier during a lengthy stay with her aunt Helen as a ruse to get herself committed and bring Phoebe home. Once inside, she realizes that many of the committed women aren't ill at all, but are simply inconvenient, such as a prostitute, an adulteress, and a woman who refused to marry in hopes of pursuing an education. Charlotte suffers daily indignities (such as frigid communal showers), but finds humanity and small kindnesses among her fellow patients. As her time runs out, Charlotte enlists the help of her new friends Celia and Martha, who are planning their own escape. Though Charlotte narrates, Macallister also gives voice to a motley crew of women who, at the mercy of male whims, hide multitudes. Charlotte's commitment to rescuing her sister is emotionally resonant, and the grim realities of institutionalization in the 1800s offer heft. Macallister sensitively and adroitly portrays mental illness in an era when it was just beginning to be understood, while weaving a riveting tale of loyalty, love, and sacrifice. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, the Book Group. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

In late 19th-century San Francisco, socialite Charlotte Smith has the world at her feet, but when her parents commit her older sister Phoebe to Goldengrove Asylum for what would now be considered bipolar disorder, Charlotte is determined to set her free. While pretending to visit relatives in Newport, Charlotte fakes a suicide attempt and gets herself committed to Goldengrove. -Naïvely, she believes that she will find Phoebe and explain that neither she nor Phoebe are insane, and both will walk away unharmed. It's not that simple; Charlotte realizes she's not the only sane woman in Goldengrove; many of the inmates are there because they are inconvenient to their families. It occurs to Charlotte that she must do more than rescue Phoebe-she must rescue all the women who don't belong there by exposing the practices at Goldengrove. First, she has to get out. -VERDICT Macallister follows up The Magician's Lie with a novel of the power of sisterhood, shining a spotlight on the barbaric treatment of the mentally ill in this period as well as society's view of women who don't fit the "traditional" mold. Readers will become engrossed in Charlotte's journey of self-discovery as she fights to free herself and her sister from a rigged system. [See Spring Editors' Picks, p. 20.]-Elisabeth Clark, West Florida P.L., -Pensacola © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.