1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.47

Buy for $24.47

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The Salpêtrière Asylum: Paris, 1885. Dr. Charcot holds all of Paris in thrall with his displays of hypnotism on women who have been deemed mad and cast out from society. But the truth is much more complicated - these women are often simply inconvenient, unwanted wives, those who have lost something precious, wayward daughters, or girls born from adulterous relationships. 

For Parisian society, the highlight of the year is the Lenten ball - the Madwomen’s Ball - when the great and good come to gawk at the patients of the Salpêtrière dressed up in their finery for one night only. For the women themselves, it is a rare moment of hope.

Geneviève is a senior nurse. After the childhood death of her sister, Blandine, she shunned religion and placed her faith in both the celebrated psychiatrist Dr. Charcot and science. But everything begins to change when she meets Eugénie, the 19-year-old daughter of a bourgeois family that has locked her away in the asylum. 

Because Eugénie has a secret: She sees spirits. Inspired by the scandalous, banned work that all of Paris is talking about, The Book of Spirits, Eugénie is determined to escape from the asylum - and the bonds of her gender - and seek out those who will believe in her. And for that she will need Geneviève's help.

©2021 Victoria Mas. Original French edition © 2019 Éditions Albin Michel, Paris. English translation © Frank Wynne. Published in 2021 by the Overlook Press, an imprint of ABRAMS, New York. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Mad Women’s Ball

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    68
  • 4 Stars
    37
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    73
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    30
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • JB
  • 01-11-22

Great book, but..,

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. However, the different voices for different characters was almost cringe worthy. At first this was a huge distraction and I considered not finishing. I’m glad I did, but that is something readers might have to work through.
**No specific details, but a potential spoiler ahead**
The primary issue I had was the lack of closure for a traumatic event for one of the characters at the end of the book. It was essentially dismissed after the fact and it felt wrong. The event is undoubtedly one that very often goes without closure in the real world, so I understand that, but considering this character’s story, it would have been wonderful to have them treated to better a ending.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

This was an excellent story and the narrator brought it to life.
I learned interesting items from a time period I knew nothing about.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great Performance; Story Feels Unfinished

The reader of this audiobook did an excellent job voicing different characters and acting out scenes with urgency in her tone. The story is well-written, but feels unfinished, like it’s merely the first section of a longer work.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Enjoyable

I picked this book on a whim and I’m very glad I did. The story itself is relatively simple, though I don’t think that’s a bad thing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the character study of Genevieve.

Be aware however that this story does contain two scenes briefly depicting rape.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • KS
  • 05-22-22

British accents?

Talented narrator but I did not enjoy British accents for a story that takes place in Paris.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fabulous!!!

wonderful book. highly recommended
Paris, ladies & psychiatrics in the late 1800s. much better than the movie

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Just okay

Just okay. The book was simple and predictable. I was expecting so much more.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Amazing Narration

Loved it! The Narrator did an excellent job with distinguishing accents and character voices. Great job! 👍

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Disturbing

This was a recommendation from a YouTube website. Though I found it disturbing, deep within, that maybe where its quality lay. Its hard to believe that something like this was common during this period in time, I think I would have enjoyed some book that was not so down.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

SO much richer than the Netflix film

As usual, there were more characters than the film. It is heartbreakingly prescient to see where women are headed in these prefascist times. This novella illustrates the misogyny that I am assuming is hard wired in the human consciousness.

Great story. If you ever are in Paris, go visit L'hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière. It was described perfectly. The ghosts are still there.