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The Girl Puzzle: A Story of Nellie Bly

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  19 reviews
She vowed never to put her safety in the hands of a man.

But 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. Her published story is well-known, but did she tell the whole truth abou
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Kindle Edition, 210 pages
Published May 5th 2019 by Crooked Cat Books
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4.30  · 
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Katharine Johnson
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an extraordinary book about a remarkable woman. I was fully immersed in the life of Elizabeth/Nellie and was inspired to find out more about the real person. The Girl Puzzle is obviously very well researched and due to the skill of the writing the historical facts blend effortlessly into the story. It’s written in two viewpoints - the younger Elizabeth and her secretary Beatrice thirty years later. Both characters are convincing and engaging. The dual timeline was admirably handled and I ...more
Amy Bruno
After having thoroughly enjoyed Kate Braithwaite's The Road to Newgate I was super excited to read her latest novel, The Girl Puzzle: A Story of Nellie Bly. And what a story it is!

In The Girl Puzzle we get two storylines - 1919 & 1887. In the 1887 timeline we have a young Nellie Bly just moved to New York to find work as a journalist, but it's a near impossible task at that time. She wants to do an expose on the conditions of mental hospitals, so she pretends to be mentally ill and gets take
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Davida Chazan
While it seems like Nellie Bly is a hot subject these days, not all novels about her, or that were inspired by her amazing work are the same. This new biographical, historical, women's fiction novel proves that, as you'll see from my review on my blog here.
https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2019/05/0...
Ann Creel
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought I knew a lot about Nellie Bly. I think that at one time I read a different book based on her life. So I was hesitant at first to read another one, but I'm so glad I took the leap. This account is so fully realized and fascinating that I came away understanding so much more about Elizabeth (her real name) than I'd ever expected. In addition to that, it's simply a great read.

The author tells the story from the point of view of one of Nellie's assistants later in her life. During that ti
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Vanessa Couchman
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Kate Braithwaite's two previous novels, and so I was looking forward to reading her latest. I was not disappointed.

I hadn't heard of Nellie Bly, but this fictionalised account of her time as an undercover reporter in a New York insane asylum for women in 1887 really brings her alive. I'm not sure I would have liked her as a person - opinionated, abrasive, impatient - but Kate Braithwaite draws her character very well.

The story is told through a third-person memoir that Bly asks her se
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Louise Sowter
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book fascinated me for many reasons. I enjoyed the detail of the story and the way it was portrayed. The history of asylums is both horrific and of value to us in present day. I will definitely be recommending this novel to fellow readers ... nothing other than brilliant and enthralling from the start
Peter Thomson
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this an entertaining and educating piece of literary, creative non-fiction. Nellie Bly was a real person. When I saw the name on this book I thought she was the Nellie Bly out of the mid- nineteenth century folk song ‘Frankie and Johnny’. How wrong! The Girl Puzzle tells the story of one of the woman who have stamped their mark on history by achieving her ambition and advancing the cause for gender equality in the workplace in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Elizabeth C
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Kate Rock
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nellie Bly was a strong and courageous heroine. I have always been fascinated by her story and the fact that she committed herself to an asylum to report on the poor conditions and to get the story and be a respected journalist in the New York Journalism scene. AT age 23 in 1887!!! What a woman! I am drawn to stories about asylums, especially in the historical setting, so I was thrilled to read this book. It did not disappoint. This is everything you want in a historical novel. The research by A ...more
Vanessa Wild
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Based on a true story about a pioneering female journalist, told in the format of a dual timeline set in 1887 and 1921. Elizabeth Cochrane, aka Nellie Bly, desperate for a job on a newspaper, impersonates an insane woman in order to infiltrate Blackwell Island’s Asylum in New York and report back on care and conditions. Some thirty years later she is living in a hotel, running an adoption agency, with Beatrice Alexander as her secretary. Beatrice is given a manuscript to type up which revisits N ...more
Jaymi Couch
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an interesting account of the famous Nelly Bly who had herself committed to an insane asylum in 1887 so that she could report on the poor conditions. It’s hard to imagine what she had to endure to get her story. She was incredibly brave and courageous, especially during this time period when women weren’t valued or taken seriously.

I was invested in the story and sympathized with how hard it was to be an independent woman at that time. The author did a great job of bringing Nellie to lif
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Ursula
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of Nelly Bly. Now I've the benefit of Kate Braithwaite's retelling of her story, largely from this nineteenth century American journalist's own accounts. And a unique story it is. I am curious to know how innovative our heroine's daring undercover exposé was at the time. Certainly it must have taken true courage to take the risk of giving up her freedom by having herself admitted to a New York lunatic asylum, quite extraordinary in a young person who so valued her independence. ...more
CoffeeandInk
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don’t know if enough can be said about the bravery of Nellie Bly these days. The Girl Puzzle is an excellent addition to the 19th century journalist’s oeuvre. What I loved about this take on her life is the fictional Beatrice, her secretary toward the end of her life. The juxtaposition of the past and present make a nice contrast and Beatrice’s observations and devotion help us to understand their world and Nellie Bly a little better. The week she spent at the insane asylum must have felt near ...more
Beccy Thompson
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from TBC Reviewers request- Thank you
This book was based on the true story of Nellie Bly who I have to admit I knew very little about before I requested this book. I did a little background reading after reading the book and it confirmed the amount of research that had gone into writing this novel was immense! It followed such a factual pathway that it really was almost autobiographical. The book covers such a sensitive subject asylums and the treatment that people
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Michelle Ascott
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Girl puzzle is the interesting and sad story of Nellie Bly. Split across two timelines it tells the story of Nellie’s time spent in an asylum and then from the point of view of her secretary Beatrice, years later.
It’s hard to read how awful some women were treated in the asylums, often committed falsely without proper assessment.
Very well researched and written by Kate braithwaite, with further reading suggestions at the end.
Carole
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the engaging story of Elizabeth Cochrane / Nellie Bly told in dual timelines by Elizabeth and Nellie's secretary Beatrice. The novel flows despite the different timelines and encaptures the reader.
There is a fascinating attention to detail which draws you into the novel
It is a tale of which I previously knew nothing but has left me wanting yo know more
A must read
Thank you to TBC Reviewer group for my copy of this novel
Chris Tunnicliffe
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although I had heard of Nellie Bly I didnt really know all that she had acheived. This story goes between current times where she is revealing her story to her secretary Beatrice, and with her past exploits. When she was young and it was hard to get a break for women in jounalism Nellie convinced an editor to give her a chance. Nellie got herself admitted to the lunatic asylum and uncovered a host of poor treatment of patients. What follows is he life story and an interesting story it tells.
Kimberly
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read first 11 pages and had to put it down - I was hooked!!! I read rest of book on flight to Iceland. Our book club already had read Nellie Blys original book several years ago and I thought Kate Braithwaite’s novel brought the whole era to life. Kate’s third novel is her best so far and I’m looking forward to future ones!!!
Beadyjan
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. A fictional account based on the real life female journalist pioneer Nellie Bly who I'm pretty embarrassed to confess I'd never previously heard of. Its fascinating and exciting especially when she gets herself committed to a lunatic asylum in order to be able to write a true account of her time in there.
Tracey Jordan
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
An enjoyable story of a character in history that I’d never heard of, Nellie Bly.
I loved Kate’s style of writing, which kept me interested right to the end.
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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. Her novels have been nominated for several award ...more