The Mad Girls of New York: A Nellie Bly novel by Maya Rodale

Title:  The Mad Girls of New York
Series:  Nellie Bly, book 1 
Author: Maya Rodale
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages: 334
Date of Publication:  26 April, 2022
My Rating:  3.5 Stars

My Thoughts 

While this book is a fictionalized account, it is based on truth. Nellie Bly deliberately got herself admitted to an institution for ten days and wrote about it upon her release. I can’t imagine the desolation and bleakness in such a place, at that point in time. I remember briefly learning about Nellie Bly when I was much younger, but history wasn’t of much interest to me until long after I reached adult status and I honestly don’t recall seeing books on her various exploits until fairly recently (the majority of titles I’ve seen seem to be from 2010 on).

This book’s subject matter infuriated me. Women, throughout history, have been oppressed, abused, and murdered. While things are changing, they are at far too slow a pace to suit my tastes. Nellie Bly must have been furious too, not being able to find a job as a reporter though her experience surpassed the men who got the jobs, being labeled as “hysterical” or “too emotional” if she or her friends got upset, and the treatment of the inmates, ugh, ugh, ugh. The author conveyed a lot of these emotions very, very well and I enjoyed reading more about this historical experience. 

Although this engaging novel isn’t branded as such, this is a great 13+/YA option as well. 

eARC kindly provided by Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley. Opinions shared are my own.


“Rodale crafts an adventure yarn worthy of a 19th-century bildungsroman, but there’s still heaps of her signature wit and banter.”—Entertainment Weekly

An exciting novel based on the fearless reporter Nellie Bly, who would stop at nothing to expose injustices against women in 19th century New York, even at the risk of her own life and freedom.

In 1887 New York City, Nellie Bly has ambitions beyond writing for the ladies pages, but all the editors on Newspaper Row think women are too emotional, respectable and delicate to do the job. But then the New York World challenges her to an assignment she'd be mad to accept and mad to refuse: go undercover as a patient at Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum for Women.

For months, rumors have been swirling about deplorable conditions at Blackwell’s, but no reporter can get in—that is, until Nellie feigns insanity, gets committed and attempts to survive ten days in the madhouse. Inside, she discovers horrors beyond comprehension. It's an investigation that could make her career—if she can get out to tell it before two rival reporters scoop her story.

USA Today bestselling author Maya Rodale comes a rollicking historical adventure series about the outrageous intrigues and bold flirtations of the most famous female reporter—and a groundbreaking rebel—of New York City’s Gilded Age.


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