Woman 99
A vivid historical thriller about a young woman whose quest to free her sister from an infamous insane asylum risks her sanity, her safety and her life Charlotte Smith's future is planned to the last detail, and so was her sister's - until Phoebe became a disruption. When their parents commit Phoebe to a notorious asylum, Charlotte knows there's more to the story than madness. Shedding her identity to become an anonymous inmate, "Woman Ninety-Nine," Charlotte uncovers dangerous secrets. Insanity isn't the only reason her fellow inmates were put away - and those in power will do anything to keep the truth, or Charlotte, from getting out.

Woman 99 Details

TitleWoman 99
Author
ReleaseMar 5th, 2019
PublisherSourcebooks Landmark
ISBN-139781492665335
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Woman 99 Review

  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    Charlotte and Phoebe Smith had a privileged upbringing in Nobb Hill in San Francisco. Their Mother planned their lives and had high hopes for both girls - hopes that they would marry well. But Phoebe began exhibiting "behaviors" these bouts of mania that were harder and harder to control until one day her parents had her committed to Goldengrove, an asylum for women... madwomen. Women who may in fact be mentally ill as well as women who did not comply with the norms of society, women who were in Charlotte and Phoebe Smith had a privileged upbringing in Nobb Hill in San Francisco. Their Mother planned their lives and had high hopes for both girls - hopes that they would marry well. But Phoebe began exhibiting "behaviors" these bouts of mania that were harder and harder to control until one day her parents had her committed to Goldengrove, an asylum for women... madwomen. Women who may in fact be mentally ill as well as women who did not comply with the norms of society, women who were indigent, women who were placed there by husbands who wanted to replace them, women who had no choice or say in their lives. Charlotte reflects on their childhood and all the times her sister has saved her and decides that she must return the favor. So, she comes up with a plan to have herself committed. She thinks she will be able to get into the asylum and leave with her sister. Oh, if things were only that easy. Once committed, she becomes woman 99, stripped of her identity and known as a number. There she learns that getting her sister out won’t be easy, life in the asylum is difficult and the women are subjected to horrific forms of treatment, and that those in charge will not be willing to let them just walk out the front doors.This book started out very slow for me and I was a little worried. Then Charlotte was committed, and things picked up for me. The Author did a great deal of research and talks about it in her notes at the end. She has her characters receiving the "treatments" that were given at those times in asylums (pulling out of teeth, water treatment, etc.). They are scary and horrific. These treatments really happened and makes one wonder, how much happened as a result of abuse of power vs. the belief those cures would work…hmm. The book also shows how women were treated in terms of being able to marry who they wanted and how little say and power that they had over their lives. This book also showcases strength, determination, love and courage. I found the book to be well-written and I appreciated the research that went into writing this book. Slow to start, it pulled me in and me caring and worrying about the women in the asylum - not just the sisters. I found this to be a solid thought provoking read.Thank you to Source Books Landmark and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    "Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness." (Allen Ginsberg)Perhaps defining "madness" was as elusive in 1888 as it is in today's complicated world that seems to hand you a particular life roadmap from birth and beyond. Charlotte Smith has been raised within the elite finery of Nob Hill in this affluent section of San Francisco. She and her sister, Phoebe, serve as mere pawns on their mother's gameboard that will assure them fine marriages of convenience. Phoebe has never danced to th "Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness." (Allen Ginsberg)Perhaps defining "madness" was as elusive in 1888 as it is in today's complicated world that seems to hand you a particular life roadmap from birth and beyond. Charlotte Smith has been raised within the elite finery of Nob Hill in this affluent section of San Francisco. She and her sister, Phoebe, serve as mere pawns on their mother's gameboard that will assure them fine marriages of convenience. Phoebe has never danced to the music heard only by her mother's ear. Phoebe's rhythm entails quite anti-social behavior and sporatic reactions to the confining social cadence of the day.And it is because of this that Phoebe will find herself whisked away by force one evening. Next stop: Goldengrove, an asylum for women who find themselves off course from that aforementioned life roadmap. "Madwomen" come from all walks of life. According to the doctors there, mental illness takes a seat at the table of the rich and the poor. Perhaps a little fresh air in Napa Valley is all they need. But gentle conditions are far from what transpires at Goldengrove.Our girl Charlotte is devastated to find out what happened to her sister. We'll begin to see the naivete surrounding her as she wishes to replicate the research done by the famous female journalist, Nellie Bly, who feigned mental illness and wrote about her experiences in an asylum. All she has to do is get herself committed and bring back ol' Phoebe. Not so fast, Innocent Dear Heart.Greer Macallister has done a fine job with her research on the historical methods of treating mental illness, especially in women. All identity is lost and women are relegated to a chalked number on the back of their dresses.....hence Woman 99. And finding yourself in the confines of an asylum was not based on idle threats. Husbands committed wives because of new love interests. Elimination of roadblocks to financial gains was another reason. Questioning a man's authority could get you a front row seat in the asylum of his choice.Well written, painfully honest, and filled with underlining era threads, Woman 99 is quite the read. I shudder to think what my own number would have been.I received a copy of Woman 99 through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and to Greer Macallister for the opportunity.
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  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    My third book by this author and I have enjoyed all of them equally.Woman 99 is set mostly in an asylum for women in San Francisco in the late 1800's. The author has a talent for telling historical fiction as it was, with plenty of real fact spiced with her own fiction. In this book the main character, Charlotte, gets herself committed to the asylum in order to help her sister who is already there. From this we get to see how patients at that time were treated for their problems in ways that see My third book by this author and I have enjoyed all of them equally.Woman 99 is set mostly in an asylum for women in San Francisco in the late 1800's. The author has a talent for telling historical fiction as it was, with plenty of real fact spiced with her own fiction. In this book the main character, Charlotte, gets herself committed to the asylum in order to help her sister who is already there. From this we get to see how patients at that time were treated for their problems in ways that seem cruel and unbelievable today.I enjoyed many of the characters especially some of the women in the asylum and wondered all through the book what the author planned for the delightful Phoebe. She was obviously one of the patients who did in fact need to be in care - just better care than was provided in this particular place! Of course Ms. Macallister had a solution and it was an excellent one. The ending was neat and satisfying. An enjoyable read.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    Charlotte Smith has her life planned out perfectly; that is, until her sister is placed in an insane asylum. Charlotte’s parents committed her sister, Phoebe, to the asylum, and Charlotte knows from the start that something is going on beyond her sister being “mad.” Charlotte risks everything and commits herself to the asylum, too. Not only does she put her life on hold, she has made a huge risk to her safety with these actions. The heart of this novel is the historical exploration of these inst Charlotte Smith has her life planned out perfectly; that is, until her sister is placed in an insane asylum. Charlotte’s parents committed her sister, Phoebe, to the asylum, and Charlotte knows from the start that something is going on beyond her sister being “mad.” Charlotte risks everything and commits herself to the asylum, too. Not only does she put her life on hold, she has made a huge risk to her safety with these actions. The heart of this novel is the historical exploration of these institutions, and in particular, how women were placed there (for any number of reasons, many unrelated to poorly understood at the time mental health), the “treatments,” and the abuses. Also explored is the roles of women during the time period. On the flipside, this book also highlights the sheer will and determination of women even in these difficult roles. It’s clear that Greer Macallister researched the topics well. Overall, I loved the messages here, the depiction of the place and time, and the portrayal of strong women. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Kate Quinn
    January 1, 1970
    Really terrific. I got an ARC of this one to consider for a cover quote, and I will definitely be giving one.Updated with my cover quote!WOMAN NINETY NINE is a gorgeous ode to the power of female courage. A resourceful Gilded Age heiress feigns madness and inveigles herself into an insane asylum, determined at all costs to rescue her fragile, unjustly committed sister, only to realize the horrors of the madhouse may keep them both prisoner forever. But when alliances are forged among the asylum Really terrific. I got an ARC of this one to consider for a cover quote, and I will definitely be giving one.Updated with my cover quote!WOMAN NINETY NINE is a gorgeous ode to the power of female courage. A resourceful Gilded Age heiress feigns madness and inveigles herself into an insane asylum, determined at all costs to rescue her fragile, unjustly committed sister, only to realize the horrors of the madhouse may keep them both prisoner forever. But when alliances are forged among the asylum women, many of whom are jailed because they are inconvenient rather than insane, all things become possible--even escape. Greer McCallister pens a nail-biter that makes you want to stand up and cheer.
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  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    Two society daughters - Phoebe who has screaming fits and Charlotte who is to marry a wealthy socialite she doesn’t want to marry.When Phoebe is put in an institution for her fits, her sister, Charlotte, can't deal with having her sister inside so she makes herself seem mad and gets herself inside the institution too. Charlotte blames herself for Phoebe's placement.Once Charlotte is inside, just like Nellie Bly, she sees the horrors and wonders how she will every get out. It was easy to get in, Two society daughters - Phoebe who has screaming fits and Charlotte who is to marry a wealthy socialite she doesn’t want to marry.When Phoebe is put in an institution for her fits, her sister, Charlotte, can't deal with having her sister inside so she makes herself seem mad and gets herself inside the institution too. Charlotte blames herself for Phoebe's placement.Once Charlotte is inside, just like Nellie Bly, she sees the horrors and wonders how she will every get out. It was easy to get in, but not as easy to get out.Charlotte found many women there that were not mad but just a nuisance to their family for one reason or another.Charlotte is put in a ward for those women who do not talk and then moved to a different ward shortly after, but she still can’t find her sister in any of the nine wards.What she does find is that these women are not treated very well at all, and it is difficult to see how the harsh treatment could cure anyone.We meet many different personalities, and Ms. Macallister’s detailed descriptions put you into the institution and have you feeling what the women are feeling and going through.Charlotte passes the time she has, and she only has six weeks to find her sister and get out, by figuring out how to find Phoebe, by working in the soapmaking shop, and thinking of her previous life at home and her time with Henry. As Charlotte continues her quest to find her sister, the search becomes difficult and has some unexpected surprises.I enjoyed WOMAN 99. Ms. Macallister’s research is very thorough, and the tales being told are as frightening to read as the situations the women have to deal with.I also enjoyed going back in time and seeing how the sisters were treated at home and the circumstances that Phoebe got herself into with one of them being screaming at her parents that Charlotte didn’t want to marry George but his brother Henry. Her fit is what got her thrown into the institution.WOMAN 99 is historical fiction, women’s fiction, mystery, and thriller all rolled into one. If you enjoy those genres, some nasty characters, and strong female characters, you will want to read this book. 5/5This book was shared with me at the BookExpo by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 20%. Although I'm usually attracted to settings in an asylum, the story does have to make sense. The beginning of this book just doesn't ring true to me. It may not bother you, it dint bother many other readers, so it's best to read yourself snd find out.
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  • ♥ Sandi ❣
    January 1, 1970
    4 solid stars Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Published March 5, 2019Another 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 t 4 solid stars Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Published March 5, 2019Another 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.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars Thanks to Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.A story of the bond between sisters that takes one far from their comfortable home in San Francisco to the darkness of an asylum to rescue the other. Woman 99 quickly caught my attention as protagonist Charlotte creates an elaborate plan to rescue her older sister, Phoebe, from Goldengrove Asylum. Once she's inside, Charlotte learns of the conditions that inmates face while also grapplin 3.5 stars Thanks to Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.A story of the bond between sisters that takes one far from their comfortable home in San Francisco to the darkness of an asylum to rescue the other. Woman 99 quickly caught my attention as protagonist Charlotte creates an elaborate plan to rescue her older sister, Phoebe, from Goldengrove Asylum. Once she's inside, Charlotte learns of the conditions that inmates face while also grappling with the reasons as to why women find themselves inside. Although it did have a bit of a slow burn in the beginning of the story, I really became swept away in the world that the author creates. But I did have to do so with a bit of disbelief as I found some of the scenarios could have only worked out as they did because this is a work of fiction. Yet, when I came to the author's note, I realized Charlotte's experience actually was inspired by a factual event involving American journalist, Nellie Bly. So I guess truth is more surprising than fiction. A book to look out for as it hits bookstores today(March 5th)!
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  • ABCme
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, very impressive historical fiction alert!San Francisco 1888. Two sisters. Phoebe, fierce, outspoken, manic-depressive. Charlotte, calm, composed, obedient. Neither of them really fits the high society they grow up in. When Charlotte is forced to marry a man she doesn't love, her sister stands up for her. As a result she is put in the woman's asylum of Goldengrove, just outside San Francisco. Charlotte now has only one goal: getting her sister back home.With a sudden rebel streak she gets he Wow, very impressive historical fiction alert!San Francisco 1888. Two sisters. Phoebe, fierce, outspoken, manic-depressive. Charlotte, calm, composed, obedient. Neither of them really fits the high society they grow up in. When Charlotte is forced to marry a man she doesn't love, her sister stands up for her. As a result she is put in the woman's asylum of Goldengrove, just outside San Francisco. Charlotte now has only one goal: getting her sister back home.With a sudden rebel streak she gets herself admitted to Goldengrove and we follow the search for Phoebe through Charlotte's eyes.It's a brutal environment, using treatments we can only imagine today on mainly sane but outcast woman. Waterhosing, isolation in darkness, restriction chairs, Charlotte bears it all in search for Phoebe. To survive she uses what she calls her reveries, the happy memories that explain to the reader how the girls ended up here, and the fantasies on how to get them back home.The description of the environment inside and out is stunning, the characters are indepth. This books grabbed me and I couldn't let go.Every time the sisters seem to finally find each other, something happens to wreck the moment. It's a heartbreaking yet exciting story, with heartwarming friendships and precious adventures among the woman admitted.The ending is quite predictable, but did put a smile on my face. Woman 99 is a stunner read, extremely well written and moving at the right pace. This story will stay with me for a while. What a treasure!Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC.
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    Woman 99 is a gorgeous portrayal of the power of women's courage and strength. Two sisters Phoebe and Charlotte Smith grew up in San Francisco in the 1800's. Both sisters had issues with growing up in their high society. Charlotte is forced to marry a man that she doesn't love and her sister Phoebe stands up for her. In turn, Phoebe is placed in an insane asylum. Charlotte is devastated and her only goal is to get her sister back. In order to get her sister back, Charlotte gets her self committe Woman 99 is a gorgeous portrayal of the power of women's courage and strength. Two sisters Phoebe and Charlotte Smith grew up in San Francisco in the 1800's. Both sisters had issues with growing up in their high society. Charlotte is forced to marry a man that she doesn't love and her sister Phoebe stands up for her. In turn, Phoebe is placed in an insane asylum. Charlotte is devastated and her only goal is to get her sister back. In order to get her sister back, Charlotte gets her self committed to the asylum as well. Let's just say that the treatments and brutal background of the asylum is awful. Physical and emotional abuse to the extreme. The amount of research the author did in regards to the environment was impressing. I found the descriptions to be beautiful yet dark. Despite having the dark side, the story unfolds a true portrayal of the strength of these two sisters that is unbreakable. I loved the strength of all the women in this story and the friendships along the way in the asylum.I do have to say it was a tad slow in the beginning and was hard to connect. Once, it took off I was enjoying it.Overall, 3.5 stars for Woman 99Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the arc.Publication date: 3/5/19Published to Goodreads: 2/12/19
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  • The Lit Bitch
    January 1, 1970
    This book’s description immediately resonated with me. I love all things turn of the century, plus I also love reading about early science and medicine.One day, one of my fellow book blogger friend and I were discussing how much we wanted to read this book. In the end she emailed the publicist for this book and shamelessly begged for an ARC for the both of us.Which we were so happy to receive! This book was high on my list of TBR and I was eager to get to reading. As soon as it arrived I set asi This book’s description immediately resonated with me. I love all things turn of the century, plus I also love reading about early science and medicine.One day, one of my fellow book blogger friend and I were discussing how much we wanted to read this book. In the end she emailed the publicist for this book and shamelessly begged for an ARC for the both of us.Which we were so happy to receive! This book was high on my list of TBR and I was eager to get to reading. As soon as it arrived I set aside all my other books just so I could start this one first. Not only if the cover gorgeous and intriguing, but the plot was one that I couldn’t get out of my head no matter how hard I tried.So this is a tough one for me to review. On one hand I absolutely loved it and was eager to sit up and read it late into the night, but on the other hand there were a lot of things that I didn’t think worked for me.Let’s start with what worked. The setting and plot were exceptional. I loved reading about the asylum and the ‘patients’ that were there. It felt a little along the lines of Orange is the New Black. We get little details and glimpse into their lives and backstory which was captivating. I also thought Charlotte’s character arch and evolution were spot on and interesting.But then there were some little things that I couldn’t help but be distracted by. One of the things was while there patient backstories were interesting, we only just scratched the surface. Same with the asylum and the treatment and condition of the patients, we got a hint but I think the author stopped at a taste instead of indulging the reader with a deeper examination of the setting.This setting and the overall story begged to be longer and deeper. I loved the story and premise itself, but there was part of me that was expecting more. The six week time period seemed too rushed to bridge profound change in the characters. Had it been more along the lines of six months, I think that would have done a lot for not just the plot but the principle characters as well.That said, I still enjoyed the book and found that it was a very worthwhile read and I would easily recommend it to fans of historical fiction and suspense. I just think that the author needed to take the plunge with this one and dive deeper in the plot, we only just scratched the surface.See my full review here
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  • NZLisaM
    January 1, 1970
    She’s been reduced to a number.On a warm September day in San Francisco in 1888, twenty year-old Charlotte Smith walks to the edge of the pier and jumps. Why? Because, she wants to end up in Goldengrove – the mental asylum her sister, Phoebe (bi-polar, possible schizophrenia), was sent to by their parents. She naively believes that if she informs the doctors that they are both sane, she’ll be able to convince them that a mistake has been made, and that they will be free to leave. But, Charlotte She’s been reduced to a number.On a warm September day in San Francisco in 1888, twenty year-old Charlotte Smith walks to the edge of the pier and jumps. Why? Because, she wants to end up in Goldengrove – the mental asylum her sister, Phoebe (bi-polar, possible schizophrenia), was sent to by their parents. She naively believes that if she informs the doctors that they are both sane, she’ll be able to convince them that a mistake has been made, and that they will be free to leave. But, Charlotte finds herself trapped in Goldengrove, as helpless and forgotten as her sister and the other woman – all of whom have been committed for anything ranging from depression and epilepsy through to adultery.As historical fiction, this just didn’t work for me. There’s no question that it was thoroughly researched, but it read like nonfiction, focused too much on fact, and lacked imagination. For the most part, it was a bore to read – long-winded, with overly long flashbacks that took too long to get to the point. I was expecting suspense, but aside from a couple of semi-interesting twists, and a little bit of mystery, there really wasn’t any. The treatment and suffering of women during this time period – drugged, neglected, abandoned, punished, starved – made for horrific reading, but lack of character development, made it difficult to emphasise, even when Charlotte (and others) were enduring monstrous psychological and physical torture. The only part that did spark some emotion within me was the bond between Charlotte and Phoebe. It was obvious Charlotte cared deeply for her older sister, had been tasked with the role of looking out for (and protecting) her from a young age, and felt Phoebe was misunderstood by her parents. This, coupled with the guilt she felt over Phoebe being committed to Goldengrove Asylum, and because Phoebe had saved her own life on many past occasions, meant Charlotte would go to any lengths to save her. And Charlotte sure was accident prone as a child – she almost drowned, was nearly trampled by a horse, was rescued from eating poisonous berries, and came close to falling off a cliff – but I suppose this was accurate for the late nineteenth century. From a seeking knowledge, and understanding, point-of-view, this book scored five out of five, and those who enjoy historical fiction bordering on nonfiction will find a lot to relish here, but lovers of fiction (like me) will likely be disappointed. I’d like to thank Netgalley, Sourcebooks – Landmark, and Greer Macallister for the e-ARC.US Publication Date: 5th March, 2019.
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  • Lisa Wolf
    January 1, 1970
    What a read! In Woman 99, we first meet Charlotte Smith as the pampered daughter of a social-climbing family living in 1880s San Francisco. Daughters are trained from childhood in etiquette and comportment so they can eventually serve their purpose -- helping their families climb higher through an advantageous marriage. Charlotte is proper and well-behaved and subservient to her mother's wishes...That was what all my education had been leading to. All the lessons and lectures. We were trained in What a read! In Woman 99, we first meet Charlotte Smith as the pampered daughter of a social-climbing family living in 1880s San Francisco. Daughters are trained from childhood in etiquette and comportment so they can eventually serve their purpose -- helping their families climb higher through an advantageous marriage. Charlotte is proper and well-behaved and subservient to her mother's wishes...That was what all my education had been leading to. All the lessons and lectures. We were trained into ideal wives. Daughters were assets to be traded, like indigo, like hemp.... but Charlotte's sister Phoebe, according to their mother, is "unmarriageable", the family disgrace.While the term may not have been in use at the time, from the descriptions of Phoebe, she's clearly bipolar. She has manic episodes, full of outrageous social behavior and flights of artistic fancy, then periods of dark depression during which she's barely functional. In between the extremes, she has periods of near "normalcy", and no matter what, Charlotte is devoted to her older sister, whom she loves with all her heart.When Phoebe finally goes too far (and it's not until later that we learn what this episode was about), she's committed to Goldengrove, the Napa Valley asylum owned by the wealthy neighbors of the Smith family. Known as a "Progressive Home for the Curable Insane", Goldengrove is promoted through glossy brochures and the social cachet of the Sidwell family. Still, Charlotte is terrified for Phoebe and her loss of freedom, and is determined to find a way to rescue her.Charlotte concocts a scheme to get admitted to Goldengrove under an assumed identity, anticipating that she'll quickly find Phoebe, announce who she is and that they're going home, and that will be that. Needless to say, things don't go as planned. Charlotte is unprepared for the emotional and physical trials of being institutionalized, and is horrified to discover that finding Phoebe and getting back out again will not be as simple as she planned. Meanwhile, as Charlotte spends weeks in the asylum, she gets to know the other women of her ward, and learns some shocking truths -- the advanced treatment methods that Goldengrove is so well known for have been replaced by cruelty and starvation, and many of the women there are perfectly sane... just problematic for their families or husbands or society in general.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.Woman 99 is powerful, upsetting, and incredibly descriptive, showing us through Charlotte's struggles the restricted roles available to women, the way certain women could be so easily discarded by society, and the shocking lack of value a woman was deemed to have if she dared step outside society's norms. It's not at all surprising to see how terrible the conditions inside Goldengrove are. Treatment of mental health at the time varied widely from physician to physician and asylum to asylum, and while some of the treatment concepts may seem worthwhile, such as outdoor hikes or music, there are also terrible methods such as a "water cure" and restraints and isolation, not to mention rumors of women having their teeth removed because poor dental health was considered linked to madness.Over the course of the book, I really came to care about Charlotte, and appreciated how much she risks for her sister and the other women she meets inside Goldengrove. Charlotte's initial act of rebellion is spurred on by her love for her sister, but she really has no idea what she's getting herself into or how much danger she'll be in. She gains strength and determination through her ideal, and emerges as a woman who's no longer willing to meekly accept her mother's plans for her future.I highly recommend Woman 99. It's a terrific, inspiring, moving read. And hey, bonus points for the San Francisco setting!Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley. Full review at Bookshelf Fantasies
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  • Carol (Reading Ladies)
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to #NetGalley #Sourcebooks for a free copy of #woman99 by @theladygreer in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. What would you do for your sister?In this histfic thriller, two sisters living a life of privilege suddenly find themselves in a dire situation. Their parents have committed Charlotte’s older sister to an insane asylum because of her pattern of mood swings and a recent emotional outburst. Charlotte is on a quest to rescue her sister from the insane asylum. Ins Thanks to #NetGalley #Sourcebooks for a free copy of #woman99 by @theladygreer in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. What would you do for your sister?In this histfic thriller, two sisters living a life of privilege suddenly find themselves in a dire situation. Their parents have committed Charlotte’s older sister to an insane asylum because of her pattern of mood swings and a recent emotional outburst. Charlotte is on a quest to rescue her sister from the insane asylum. Inspired by real life Nellie Bly, Charlotte manages to get herself committed to the asylum by staging a fake suicide attempt. Once inside she experiences troubling events, conducts a desperate search for her sister, decides to seek help from a risky source, attempts a harrowing rescue, and risks her life. The historical reality that the story depicts is troubling. First, the inability of the medical profession in 1888 to diagnose, understand, or treat mental illness is staggering to think about when you consider all the women in history who suffered from bi polar, postpartum depression, etc. and were institutionalized because of it. Then, the fact that men could send a woman to an asylum for the remainder of her life for having an affair or voicing an opinion is almost incomprehensible! No medical diagnosis, no consent, no recourse. I can’t imagine living with this threat. Many of the women in the asylum were in this position, and the ones who truly needed to be there because of a real mental illness were not receiving effective treatment. Charlotte is determined to rescue her sister from this situation, care for her, and bring her home to live with the family again. Will she succeed?In this engaging page turner, I appreciated the author’s extensive research and enjoyed the vivid details in describing the asylum, treatments, living conditions, and 1888 San Francisco.I have thoughts about the ending. If I were discussing Woman 99 in a bookclub, these are a few questions I would ask:* Are you satisfied with the justice or lack of justice that occurred?*Do you think that the justice or lack of justice that occurred is the most the women could hope for?*Do you think the justice or lack of justice was acceptable or common in 1888?Thoughtful themes include family loyalty, women’s rights, determination, courage, a commitment to help others, justice, and love between sisters.Recommended for fans of gritty histfic, for readers who enjoy cheering for strong, determined, brave women, and for those who want a gripping page turner.For more reviews visit my blog readingladies.com
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  • ✨Brithanie Faith✨
    January 1, 1970
    4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐"....She's only a number now...."Woman 99 by Greer Macallister follows Charlotte Smith as she leaves behind a privileged life- risking everything to become a nameless inmate in search of her sister who was committed to the infamous Goldengrove asylum before her. Set in the 1880's in San Francisco- this historical thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Charlotte and uncover the dark secrets that are being kept inside the asylum walls. I had no prior knowledge 4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐"....She's only a number now...."Woman 99 by Greer Macallister follows Charlotte Smith as she leaves behind a privileged life- risking everything to become a nameless inmate in search of her sister who was committed to the infamous Goldengrove asylum before her. Set in the 1880's in San Francisco- this historical thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Charlotte and uncover the dark secrets that are being kept inside the asylum walls. I had no prior knowledge of this book going into it, but boy am I glad that Callisto Crate decided to choose this as their April book of the month- because I was hooked from the very first chapter and that feeling stuck with me the entire time that I was reading it! If this wasn't already on your radar- it definitely should be! I've never been someone who's read a lot of historical fiction, but I think I would read it all of the time if I knew of more that were written like this one!
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed on: Ashes Books & Bobs.Many thanks to SourceBooks and Netgalley for the chance to read and review this novel!As soon as I saw this cover and read the synopsis of Woman 99, I had to have it. I love "crazy" characters or those who think outside of the box. The idea of a book set in an asylum was something I've never read before but was eager to get into, especially a historical novel which drew from horrifying real-world experiences. I also love the idea of people being wrongly impris Reviewed on: Ashes Books & Bobs.Many thanks to SourceBooks and Netgalley for the chance to read and review this novel!As soon as I saw this cover and read the synopsis of Woman 99, I had to have it. I love "crazy" characters or those who think outside of the box. The idea of a book set in an asylum was something I've never read before but was eager to get into, especially a historical novel which drew from horrifying real-world experiences. I also love the idea of people being wrongly imprisoned and attempting to escape their circumstances. In every way, this novel seemed like everything I was looking for. Unfortunately, Woman 99 lacked the depth I was seeking. The characters felt one dimensional and I wasn't able to relate to them on a personal level or feel any emotion toward their struggles. The story felt incredibly long and tedious. I expected much more action and mystery from this book, but it just wasn't there. Important parts of the storyline were glazed over, while mundane details were explained in grand detail. I felt as if this made the story feel endless. Still, I wanted to stick it out because I felt as if I was missing something. There was a sense of foreboding as if an unexpected twist was about to jump off the pages. As I inched toward the ending, I knew that moment wasn't going to come. Things were wrapped up nicely, without loose ends, but the excitement was missing. The main thing I didn't like was that while the characters seemed to believe they solved the main theme of injustice, I felt as if it was swept under the rug for the sake of financial security. The characters were extremely lenient and I found that to be incredibly disappointing.Thankfully this was not a completely terrible reading experience. I was impressed by the author's ability to make all woman from different walks of life band together in a show of strength. There was an intense theme of sisterhood in this novel that I relished in, not only between the two sisters at the helm of the story but with the majority of the characters, whether they liked one another or not. I liked the idea of adversity bringing the characters together, uniting them towards a common goal.I also was interested in learning about the different forms of "rehabilitation" asylums practices in the late 1800s and early 1900s throughout the world. The ideas seemed remarkably backward and disturbing. It was wholly appropriate when Charlotte mentioned the asylum itself making the women crazy, not the other way around. My hopes for this novel may have been too high, leaving me disappointed by my unmet expectations. I know plenty of other readers loved reading this story, so please, don't let my opinions discourage you from reading if you're interested in Woman 99.
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  • Davida Chazan
    January 1, 1970
    Greer Macallister’s third historical fiction novel is once again one that includes elements of a thriller and those of an action novel, all while including the psychological aspects of the mentally ill and their treatment during the latter part of the 19th century. Take a look at what I thought of this novel in my newest #bookreview on my blog here. https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2019/03/1...
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very good book about two sisters who love each other unconditionally.. The older one, Phoebe, has some problems but will do anything for her younger sister, Charlotte. Charlotte is very much smitten with Henry Sidwell and is hoping that they may get married. But her parents have a different plan. She’s to marry his older brother, George. Phoebe goes to bat for her sister and love but ends up being sent away to a mental institution for her “fits”. This story takes place in the late 1800 This is a very good book about two sisters who love each other unconditionally.. The older one, Phoebe, has some problems but will do anything for her younger sister, Charlotte. Charlotte is very much smitten with Henry Sidwell and is hoping that they may get married. But her parents have a different plan. She’s to marry his older brother, George. Phoebe goes to bat for her sister and love but ends up being sent away to a mental institution for her “fits”. This story takes place in the late 1800s and tells how things were for women back then. The women in the institutions were there for so many wrong reasons. So many had no problems but were just in the way. Husbands who wanted to get rid of them. Parents who didn’t have time to deal with them. Prostitutes, women who had seizures. Some did need help of course but didn’t always get it correctly. In this book you learn about some of the horrible things that people did to these women just for money. They didn’t care about the mental health of any of them. There was a couple of people who did care but overall it was about power and money.It was very hard living back then and over the years things have gotten better for sure. But to think of what can and did happen in mental institutions makes me cringe. I throughly enjoyed reading this book. Parts made me so angry and parts made me cry those big ugly cries that you hate for anyone to see. Parts were so sweet and loving but overall it was very sad what these women went through. But it was wonderful to read the love between a young lady for her older sister. What she was willing to go through to bring her back. This is a story of true love. Love between sisters. Also a love story between one man and one woman who want to do what is right.Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for a copy in exchange for my complete honest review.I gave it 5 stars for likable characters. Originality. Depth. Love. Caring. Even fear and meanness. It was one hell of a ride for sure. Thank you Greer Macallister for writing such a book. It blew me away.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    A story about how the bond and love between sisters is so strong one will go to extreme lengths to save the other one. The book also highlights the mistreatment of Women in mental hospitals when they were privately owned and not well regulated.
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Inspired by the true story “Ten Days in a Mad-House” by Nellie Bly. Woman 99 is the number that is given to Charlotte Smith upon entering the Goldengrove asylum of her own free will in order to break out her sister Phoebe, placed there by their parents. Although there are numerous flashbacks, the bulk of the story takes place inside the asylum.The dehumanizing conditions and pathetic methods of ‘healing’ are hard to read but patients’ ingenuity, camaraderie and survival mechanisms are believable Inspired by the true story “Ten Days in a Mad-House” by Nellie Bly. Woman 99 is the number that is given to Charlotte Smith upon entering the Goldengrove asylum of her own free will in order to break out her sister Phoebe, placed there by their parents. Although there are numerous flashbacks, the bulk of the story takes place inside the asylum.The dehumanizing conditions and pathetic methods of ‘healing’ are hard to read but patients’ ingenuity, camaraderie and survival mechanisms are believable and well-written for the most part. A bit far-fetched as far as Charlotte being able to gain access into forbidden areas/hallways/wards in the asylum with so few roadblocks.
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  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    How far would you go to save one you loved?Charlotte sacrificed her freedom to save her sister Phoebe. She thought it would be an easy venture, made at the spur of the moment. Little does she know the ride she will be taken on.Woman 99 was an engaging story that gave vivid descriptions of life inside an asylum. With flashbacks to the past, as well as twists I didn’t anticipate this book kept my attention, piqued my curiosity as to the outcome.There were times when the emotional energy seemed to How far would you go to save one you loved?Charlotte sacrificed her freedom to save her sister Phoebe. She thought it would be an easy venture, made at the spur of the moment. Little does she know the ride she will be taken on.Woman 99 was an engaging story that gave vivid descriptions of life inside an asylum. With flashbacks to the past, as well as twists I didn’t anticipate this book kept my attention, piqued my curiosity as to the outcome.There were times when the emotional energy seemed to lag, but overall Woman 99 held my interest with historical details true to the times and a learning experience as to what woman endured at the hands of men.Greer Macallister is a new author for me and one I will continue to read more of. My thanks to the publisher (via Netgalley) for an advanced copy in exchange for honest review.
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  • Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    This book is touted as a 'vivid historical thriller' and was inspired by the famous investigative reporter, Nelly Bly who, in the late 19th century, snuck into an insane asylum to report on the atrocities occurring within its walls. Woman 99 is written in a similar vein, but I wouldn't call this a thriller. It lacked the tension and suspense of a thriller. But it is a solid historical fiction read with its focus on how mental health 'therapies' were inflicted on the female residents - many of wh This book is touted as a 'vivid historical thriller' and was inspired by the famous investigative reporter, Nelly Bly who, in the late 19th century, snuck into an insane asylum to report on the atrocities occurring within its walls. Woman 99 is written in a similar vein, but I wouldn't call this a thriller. It lacked the tension and suspense of a thriller. But it is a solid historical fiction read with its focus on how mental health 'therapies' were inflicted on the female residents - many of whom found themselves there for reasons that had nothing to do with mental health.The book had a good premise and but even with the atrocities that are described, there is a lack of emotion and depth to the subject matter as well as the characters' development. Charlotte was a bland main character who goes from total naïf to diving head first into her last-minute plans and getting by with an unbelievable amount of luck. With a slow-moving plot, particularly in the beginning, and an ending that seemed to peter off, this book was a good but a much lighter read than I was expecting.Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Karen Kay
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. 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.Nicely told and well written story of sisterly love, the injustices of the time and redemption. Some great quotable quotes. "A woman's mind is a powerful weapon. She had better use hers brilliantly". Good book. 4☆
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  • Paula DeBoard
    January 1, 1970
    Out today!Although the first half of the book seemed slow at times, the second half more than made up for it. A compelling look at the mistreatment of society’s “problem women” in the early part of the last century.Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an early copy of this book.
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  • Jenni Walsh
    January 1, 1970
    Fittingly, as Charlotte sank deeper and deeper into the asylum, this book tightened it's grasp on me -- until we reached the conclusion, which was the most satisfying ending I've read in a while.
  • Kate Vocke
    January 1, 1970
    I'm going to start this right off by saying the chick in this book is cray-cray!! I don't care what the synopsis says about Charlotte voluntarily entering a loony bin solely to find here sister - just THAT alone, makes you batty in my book! I don't have a sister, but I have best friends I consider sisters... and nope!! Sorry guys. You're on your own. Enjoy the crazy pills cause my tush is sitting right here til you get out on your own!So, that's where this story finds us - in the super creepy Go I'm going to start this right off by saying the chick in this book is cray-cray!! I don't care what the synopsis says about Charlotte voluntarily entering a loony bin solely to find here sister - just THAT alone, makes you batty in my book! I don't have a sister, but I have best friends I consider sisters... and nope!! Sorry guys. You're on your own. Enjoy the crazy pills cause my tush is sitting right here til you get out on your own!So, that's where this story finds us - in the super creepy Goldengrove Asylum. I picture the Overlook Hotel from The Shining with it's very own Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and it is not anywhere I would ever voluntarily visit! And that is where Charlotte's sister Phoebe has been sent because she stood up to their parents to defend her sister. Charlotte feels like it's all her fault, and is determined to get her sister out and and back home where she belongs. So she fakes a bit of crazy and soon becomes 'Woman 99.'I've read in other publications some of the insane things that women were committed for in the 19th Century - including: laziness, superstition, political excitement, masturbation and (gasp!) novel reading??? But Charlotte soon comes to find that a huge number of her roomies in the loony are, in fact, quite sane.It's thriller at heart but the history is rich and vivid. Although it started a bit slow for me - the pace slowly grew and anticipation built at just the speed you'd want it to. I loved the vibrant descriptions of a less-than-vibrant setting and the suspense and mystery took me for a wild ride that twisted and turned with heartache and desperation. The treatment (or lack of) of these women was abhorrent and made me cringe - but the strength and resiliency was uplifting. A really unique and thrilling trip into a time and place of irrational fears, harrowing madness, and the strength of the human spirit to deal with it all
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  • Stephanie Thornton
    January 1, 1970
    Having seen a list of all the reasons why women were committed to asylums in the 19th century (including too much novel reading, which means I'd have earned my own cell many times over) I've thought more than once that someone needed to write a story exploring these women's tales. Greer Macallister has written this powerful story in Woman 99, a true testament to the power of a sister's love and the courage of forgotten (and oftentimes inconvenient) women.
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  • Wendi Lee
    January 1, 1970
    I've always been interested in non fiction accounts of mental institutions. In high school I read Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, and then Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel. It kind of went from there. Woman 99 is a fictional account of asylums during that time period, but it didn't make it any less interesting. Phoebe cannot behave as a young socialite woman should, so one night her parents ship her off to a "genteel" mental asylum catering to both the rich and the destitute. Her younger sister, I've always been interested in non fiction accounts of mental institutions. In high school I read Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, and then Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel. It kind of went from there. Woman 99 is a fictional account of asylums during that time period, but it didn't make it any less interesting. Phoebe cannot behave as a young socialite woman should, so one night her parents ship her off to a "genteel" mental asylum catering to both the rich and the destitute. Her younger sister, Charlotte, decides to rescue Phoebe by getting herself anonymously committed to the same institution. But getting out isn't as easy as she thought it would be ... for either sister. I liked this a lot. A few of the plot points were implausible, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief because I was invested in Charlotte and the relationships she made as she navigated the asylum. There are a lot of dubious "treatments" that were once norms in these institutions, and you really get a sense of how mistreated many patients were during this time. That said, this isn't a grim, depressing book! I would recommend it if you're interested in historical novels about mental health and the treatment of women, or if you just like a good story about sisters. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC.
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  • LaMesha
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a captivating tale of women in an asylum in the late 1800s & the mistreatment that they all endured. WOW!! I was immediately invested in the characters. There was sadness, deceit, & at times abuse, BUT, there was so much strength, women supporting each other, love, passion, & last but not least, resolution. I LOVE Historical fiction, & this DID NOT dissapoint.
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