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Freud's Mistress

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  3,751 ratings  ·  514 reviews
For fans of The Paris Wife, Loving Frank, The Other Boleyn Girl and Shanghai Girls . . . a novel inspired by the true-life love affair between Sigmund Freud and his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays.

Minna Bernays is an overeducated woman with limited options. Fired yet again for speaking her mind, she finds herself out on the street and out of options. In 1895 Vienna, even thou
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Putnam Adult (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.45  · 
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 ·  3,751 ratings  ·  514 reviews

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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
I will start off this review by noting two things, first, it's pretty weird reading a historical (romance) with Freud as the man in the leading role and secondly, Freud is a bit of an ashole. Now, the picture I have in my head is of the older Freud, but he is quite young in this book, but I still had a hard time seeing The Father of Psychoanalysis seducing his sisters-in-law.

However, despite that was this book quite good. I liked getting a closer look into Freud's own marriage and his close rela
I received this book in a Goodreads give away.

Before I started reading FREUD'S MISTRESS I had to throw out everything I had stored in my mind about Sigmund Freud, and try to see him as a romantic figure. This was not an easy task let me tell you. Most of the images I had in my head were of him as a stern, sex obsessed, egotistical, cigar smoking, stick up his bum "gentleman" that had some pretty crazy theories on how the mind works. So it was not surprising that it took me a couple of attempts a
Dragomir Mirela
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never had the chance to read something so beautifully made. Wasn't so sure about the informations inside the book, and went from skepticism to pure love. I really do reccomend this one.
Joanne Guidoccio
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very little is known about Minna Bernays, the other woman in Sigmund Freud’s household.

While she was speculated to have been his mistress, this controversial claim was dismissed by Freudian scholars.

All that changed during the summer of 2006.

A German sociologist discovered proof that Sigmund Freud and Minna Bernays had spent two weeks in August 1898 at a fashionable resort in Switzerland. An old ledger clearly showed that they occupied Room 11 on the third floor.

In Freud’s Mistress, authors Kare
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Freud has never been one of my favorite people from history; while I respect his genius in discovering the subconscious mind, conversion, and talk therapy, I never thought a lot of him as a person. He seemed egotistical and argumentative, dropping associates if they disagreed with him. All images I saw were of him as an older man, already bald, smoking a cigar. I knew nothing about his personal life. This historical novel shows us a younger man, one who could be charming when he wished to be. Sa ...more
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Having previously read “Freud’s Sister” by Goce Smilevski (much recommended); I was instantly drawn to “Freud’s Mistress” by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman. “Freud’s Mistress” portrays Minna Bernays, Freud’s sister-in-law and speculated lover (ahem Freud: you certainly your own issues!).

“Freud’s Mistress” instantly dives into a dramatic and compelling character of Minna and a plot which comes alive to the reader. There is an element of recognition and calmness; yet, one immediately wants to kee
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
There's lots that's wrong with this book. It is an imagined exploration of the as yet unconclusive affair that Freud supposedly had with his brother's wife (ewwww) while she was living with them (for like forty years!). Many imagined retellings have the issue of being contrived piecemeal awkward non stories that are more a retroactive patchwork of research, plus they are often derailed with anachronistic writing - this book was guilty of this and more.
I for one did not know about this major blig
4.5 stars. I really loved this!

Contemporary morals and ethics would have us believe that one never roots for the affair. And yet so many novels, films, and plays have great drama on this angle. I think about two examples, The Bridges of Madison County, and The Way We Were. There are probably countless others through history, but none spring to mind. But Freud's unfolding scandalous and revolutionary theory about the importance and undeniability of sexual drives and urges is the backdrop of this
Andrea Guy
It is terribly hard to turn Sigmund Freud into a romantic character. It is a good think that Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman don't try to do that with their book Freud's Mistress. What they do remarkably well is show how his wife's sister came to be a huge part of his life as more than just a sister-in-law.

Minna is completely different from her sister Martha. She's younger and she's more interested Freud's work.
She's really a difficult person to like, but really the same could be said for both
Jul 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Stereotypes, not many layered personalities. Martha was chubby and Minna was slender, that's supposed to "say it all?" Very shallow interpretations. Since so little is known about Minna and Martha, I would have written Martha as more like Emma Jung, who shared her husband, Carl, with Tony Wolfe, was a very intelligent woman, and went into therapy herself. Minna traveled openly with SigF, everyone pretty much knew it. The Speilrein hype is just hype. In my opinion the Freud family settled into a ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A richly imagined, historically based story

On every page Freud’s Mistress evokes the layered sights, sounds, fashions, and aromas of late 19th century Vienna, and that alone would have kept me reading, but I was drawn to the sensitively imagined story of two real sisters just as much. As it is for Jane Austen’s female characters, there are not a lot of life choices for Martha Freud and her sister Minna Bernays. Martha is financially comfortable, but she’s overwhelmed by the job of caring for her
When I first realized two people authored this book I was a little concerned that a book written by two authors would feel like it was written by two authors. I was pleased and surprised by how fluid the writing was, I expected there to be an unevenness to it, but there wasn't.

While this is not the most flattering portrayal of Sigmund Freud, it certainly is a believable one. The authors depict the progression of his relationship with his sister in law, from proper to improper and then illicit. T
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I did some research on line while I was reading this book and the authors really have their historical facts in order. Be sure and read their thoughts at the end of the book. Drugs were thought of as being acceptable for many uses during this time period but it was still shocking to read about. Freud's ego was huge but his behavior is typical of that time period. I enjoyed this peak into the life of Dr. Freud and the women who had to put up with him.
Aug 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, his-fic

For many, including myself, it is difficult to think of Freud as a romantic character. Thanks to preconceived views of Freud (maybe?), I couldn’t connect with the romantic side of this story.

Did Freud really have an affair with his wife’s sister? Historians neither confirm it or deny it.

I have to say that the way Freud’s Mistress is written make Mack and Kaufman literary geniuses. The writing really is brilliant, the flow is impeccable, and the narrati
Lauren Stoolfire
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well-written and plotted. I liked seeing real world references in the story. Minna made the story, but I was still half mad at everyone throughout.
Taylor Caitlin
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Freud is portrayed in exactly the way I imagined he would have been in real life- charismatic, brilliant, egotistical, and completely ignorant about women and relationships. It was very interesting to read about one of the world's most well known psychologists and witness him behave so predictably and stereotypically.

While Freud is one of the major characters, the protagonist of the story is Minna Bernay
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
"He was an unhappy man, and unhappy men are dangerous." This line so aptly describes the situation that Minna Bernay's finds herself drawn into as imagined by Karen Mack. Minna is the sister-in-law of Sigmund Freud, the 'mythic father of psychoanalysis',and they were rumored to have had an affair. It wasn't until 2006 that the rumors were substantiated with the discovery that they had actually registered in a hotel as man and wife on August 13, 1898. Mack used letters between Sigmund and his clo ...more
Carol Custer
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I’d never given much thought to Sigmund Freud’s life before but I quickly became engrossed in this historical fiction account of a part of it. The authors’ did meticulous research in order to portray the people and times as they were. They took an often disputed idea that Freud had an affair with Minna, his wife Martha’s sister – and they ran with it. The story is totally believable and interesting. The characters came alive on the page and what could have read like a soap opera script, instead ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it

Out of work and no where to go, Minna had no other recourse but to ask her sister to take her in.

Minna knew the household wouldn't be calm with six children and a household staff, but she managed. In fact, she managed very well. The children fell in love with her and so did her brother-in-law. Or did he really fall in love with her or was she simply a convenience?

Sigmund Freud betrayed his wife, and Minna betrayed her sister. The affair started out with early evening and some late night meetings
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was slow to get started. The build up of whether they had feelings for one another and if the other felt the same seemed to take forever. Just as I was about to put the book down their relationship finally began to have some depth and advanced beyond speculation. From that point the book sped along to the finish. After the never ending angst of their wait to confess their feelings it was a sudden race to the end. This book was a wonderful starting point for a book but lacked in signifi ...more
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
This is historical fiction with a capital F as it’s all based on little proof that Mrs. Freud’s sister ever had an affair with Dr. Freud. That said, the story depicted the women of the 1890’s very well: If you’re not married, you spend your days in pitiful boredom with little direction in life. Here we have Minna Bernay, the intelligent and interesting sister of Martha Freud, who is nothing more to Freud than the mother of his 6 children. Minna moves in with the Freuds to help care for the kids, ...more
Suzy Brookhart
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book-maybe because I was a psychology major. Enjoyable read and some true historical background. A recent article does think Freud did have an affair with his sister-in-law Minna. I enjoyed learning a little more about Freud, but it was more about a marriage, it's faults and the development of an affair. Freud, obviously an intellect, is married to Martha and has 6 children. Martha, obviously is overwhelmed with the 6 children and her focus is on the daily househould chores ...more
Jul 12, 2013 marked it as maybe
See where the blurb box says: For fans of The Paris Wife, Loving Frank, The Other Boleyn Girl and Shanghai Girls . . . a novel inspired by the true-life love affair between Sigmund Freud and his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays.

I hated the Paris Wife, Loving Frank (dreadful beyond words) etc, I still would like a tilt at this!
May 29, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: giveaways
This book seems like it will be so interesting! I think I will have to hide this book from my daughter, so I can rad it first.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis; generally recognized as one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the 20th century.

Until the summer of 2006, an affair between Freud and his sister-in-law was seen as rumor. With new evidence, now it is accepted that it most likely had happened.

Despite the new evidence and the focal point of the story being an affair, what this book also brings is a glimpse of a man who dedicated his life to
Tamara Rice
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book actually surprised me. It was such an easy GOOD read. I loved Minna’s character and strangely could relate to her in most ways. Freud as a romantic was different for sure, a little into himself, but strangely fascinating. I actually loved it!
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. Being a mental health professional, I have always been both intrigued and repelled by Freud.
This is a well written period novel set Vienna in early 20th century. Loved the character development of both sisters and family life at the time. Not necessarily non-fiction but the authors have carefully researched Freud's life and weaves it in to the story with illuminating detail. Picked it up at a little library in the neighborhood and am grateful!
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, fiction
Written pretty well, just not my bag. But it brought back that strong urge to punch Freud in the face.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is based on a true story, but I could not believe that Freud's mistress was his wife's sister! The book does tell how Minna felt about Freud, but the author added some fiction to the book as well. Freud did not come across very well here, but it made for good reading.
In Freud’s Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman, Minna Bernays is a woman caught in between social changes. The revolutionary ideas that began to spark in earnest during the final years of the 20th century, ideas she firmly embraces, had not yet drilled down into women’s rights. For someone against the idea of marriage for marriage’s sake and against the very limited employment possibilities for single women, she has very little options in regards to hearth and income. Minna does what so ...more
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Karen Mack, a former attorney, is a Golden Globe Award-winning film and television producer. She has co-authored three books with Jennifer Kaufman: most recently, Freud's Mistress, which received four stars from People and was on USA Today, Vanity Fair, and Marie Claire's best summer reading list for 2013; Literacy and Longing in L.A., which reached #1 on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List and ...more
“Seneca’s line “Let the wickedness escape . . . for every guilty person is his own hangman.” 1 likes
“Every guilty person is his own hangman” 1 likes
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