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. 5/5
This book was shared with me at the BookExpo by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.