Where Madness Lies by Sylvia True @sylviatrue #WhereMadnessLies #JewishLiterature #BookReview #TopHatBooks #NewRelease

Where Madness Lies: A Novel by [Sylvia True]


Germany, 1934. Rigmor, a young Jewish woman is a patient at Sonnenstein, a premier psychiatric institution known for their curative treatments. But with the tide of eugenics and the Nazis’ rise to power, Rigmor is swept up in a campaign to rid Germany of the mentally ill. USA, 1984. Sabine, battling crippling panic and depression commits herself to McLean Hospital, but in doing so she has unwittingly agreed to give up her baby. Linking these two generations of women is Inga, who did everything in her power to help her sister, Rigmor. Now with her granddaughter, Sabine, Inga is given a second chance to free someone she loves from oppressive forces, both within and without. This is a story about hope and redemption, about what we pass on, both genetically and culturally. It is about the high price of repression, and how one woman, who lost nearly everything, must be willing to reveal the failures of the past in order to save future generations. With chilling echoes of our time, Where Madness Lies is based on a true story of the author’s own family.


Where Madness Lies


One woman links two stories together fifty years apart, both revolving around mental health issues. In 1934 Germany Inga’s sister Rigmor suffers from bouts of severe depression, so her wealthy Jewish mother agrees to her being committed to a mental institute partly because of embarrassment and because she wants her daughter to get better.

Paperwork and lies soon entangle Rigmor in the system the won’t let her go as doctors are heading down the path of experiments, sterilisation and extermination of those not perfect for the new German dream of Adolph Hitler

In the present day, 1984, a much older Inga comes to the aid of her granddaughter Sabine who has signed herself into a clinic because of postnatal depression she thought she was in control and didn’t realise that she had signed away the rights to her baby. The story jumps between past and present and had been hushed up all these years, until now.

This story has been written with passion and it wound its way into me. I was very overwhelmed with the cruelty that was going on behind secret locked doors. At times I cried more than once. But not all the doctors at this institute were eager to follow orders. There was more than one scene in this story that I read with a hand over my mouth because it was just too terrible.

Inga had lived through the hell of the past, now she was determined that things would be very different even if she had to risk her future now.
The story is based on events that happened to the author’s family. Somethings should never be forgotten.

I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


An image posted by the author.

Sylvia True, author of the popular novel The Wednesday Group, was born in Manchester, England, and now lives in Massachusetts with her husband and dogs where she teaches high school chemistry.

TWITTER: @sylviatrue

2 thoughts on “Where Madness Lies by Sylvia True @sylviatrue #WhereMadnessLies #JewishLiterature #BookReview #TopHatBooks #NewRelease

  1. Hi Susan,
    Just bumped into this and wanted to thank you. But more than that I was taken by the warmth of your bio and bumping into lamp posts. I will be following your blog and reviews. It is so important to hear what readers think of books. I admire you for putting your thoughts out there for all to read.
    All best,

    Liked by 1 person

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