The Madwomen of Paris: A Novel

Written by:
Jennifer Cody Epstein
Narrated by:
Kiiri Sandy

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
July 2023
12 hours 47 minutes
EDGAR AWARD FINALIST • “Epstein’s page-turning historical novel—an indictment of the medical establishment’s manipulation of women—remains eerily relevant and timely.”—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Spectacular

Two women fall under the influence of a powerful doctor in Paris’s notorious nineteenth-century women’s asylum—a gripping novel inspired by true events, from the bestselling author of Wunderland.

After being dragged into the Salpêtrière asylum screaming, covered in blood, and suffering from amnesia, Josephine is diagnosed with what the nineteenth-century Parisian press has dubbed “the epidemic of the age”: hysteria. It’s a disease so uniquely baffling that Jean-Martin Charcot, the Salpêtrière’s acclaimed director, devotes popular lectures to it, using hypnosis to elicit fits and fantastical symptoms in front of rapt audiences. Young, charismatic, and highly susceptible to this entrancement, Josephine quickly becomes a favorite of the powerful doctor and the Parisian public alike. 

But her true ally at the Salpêtrière is Laure, a lonely ward attendant. As their friendship blossoms into something more, the two women find comfort and even joy together despite their bleak surroundings. Soon, Josephine’s memory returns, and with it images of a gruesome crime she’s convinced she’s committed. Ensnared in Charcot’s hypnotic web, she starts spiraling into seeming insanity, prompting a terrified Laure to plot their escape together. First, though, Laure must solve a grim mystery: Who, really, is the girl she’s grown to love? Is Josephine a madwoman . . . or a murderer?

Inspired by true events, expertly researched, and masterfully written, The Madwomen of Paris is a Gothic saga for the ages with themes that remain hauntingly resonant today.
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