Friday, May 17, 2019

The Girl Puzzle - Blog Tour and Review

The Girl Puzzle by Kate Braithwaite

Publication Date: May 5, 2019
Crooked Cat Books
eBook & Paperback; 263 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Her published story is well known. But did she tell the whole truth about her ten days in the madhouse?

Down to her last dime and offered the chance of a job of a lifetime at The New York World, twenty-three-year old Elizabeth Cochrane agrees to get herself admitted to Blackwell’s Island Lunatic Asylum and report on conditions from the inside. But what happened to her poor friend, Tilly Mayard? Was there more to her high praise of Dr Frank Ingram than everyone knew?

Thirty years later, Elizabeth, known as Nellie Bly, is no longer a celebrated trailblazer and the toast of Newspaper Row. Instead, she lives in a suite in the Hotel McAlpin, writes a column for The New York Journal and runs an informal adoption agency for the city’s orphans.

Beatrice Alexander is her secretary, fascinated by Miss Bly and her causes and crusades. Asked to type up a manuscript revisiting her employer’s experiences in the asylum in 1887, Beatrice believes she’s been given the key to understanding one of the most innovative and daring figures of the age.

"Novelist Braithwaite (The Road to Newgate, 2018, etc.) delivers a well-researched and engrossing tale that focuses on female empowerment. A story of grit and perseverance that will appeal to readers interested in the history of women in journalism." - Kirkus Reviews

Available at Amazon

My Take:

I find Nellie Bly to be fascinating and I was happy for the opportunity to read and review The Girl Puzzle by Kate Braithwaite. Using Nellie's secretary Beatrice to describe her perspective of Nellie and the historical setting works well in my opinion. Beatrice is young and admires Nellie's grit and intelligence and is fascinated by her story. 

Nellie gives Beatrice pages of her story to type up and in the process Beatrice and the reader get a glimpse into Nellie's motivation and the feelings and reactions to the events in her life and her undercover work - especially at the asylum. Much of what she describes  didn't make it into her newspaper articles originally. 

I found The Girl Puzzle to be an enjoyable, fast-paced and thoroughly entertaining and informative  novel. I appreciated that the author took care to show how complicated and sometimes contradictory Nellie was throughout her life. While the novel is fairly short in length, there is a lot of information and an unflinching look at the dark days of mental health care. It can be troubling to read about what Nellie encountered, but we all owe her a great debt for exposing the deplorable conditions at the time. I think The Girl Puzzle is a great starting point for any reader interested in Nellie Bly and her daring and important reporting. I would definitely recommend The Girl Puzzle.

About the Author

Kate Braithwaite grew up in Edinburgh but now lives with her family in the Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania. Her daughter doesn’t think Kate should describe herself as a history nerd, but that’s exactly what she is. Always on the hunt for lesser known stories from the past, Kate’s books have strong female characters, rich settings and dark secrets.

The Girl Puzzle is her third novel.

For more information, please visit Kate's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Sunday, May 5
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 6
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 8
Feature at What Is That Book About

Thursday, May 9
Review at Orange County Readers

Friday, May 10
Review at Macsbooks

Monday, May 13
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Wednesday, May 15
Review at Kate Rock Lit Chick
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, May 17
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Coffee and Ink


During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a signed copy of The Girl Puzzle by Kate Braithwaite! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. The Girl Puzzle


  1. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing The Girl Puzzle!

  2. Thanks so much for this great review & for hosting The Girl Puzzle blog tour!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


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