Publisher: Berkley Trade
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 though the city is aswirl with avant-garde artists and writers and revolutionary are still very few options for women besides marriage. And settling is not something Minna has ever done.
Out of desperation, Minna turns to her older sister, Martha, for help. But Martha has her own problems — six young children, a host of physical ailments, a household run with military precision, and an absent, overworked, disinterested husband who happens to be Sigmund Freud. Freud is a struggling professor, all but shunned by his peers and under attack for his theories, most of which center around sexual impulses, urges, and perversions. While Martha is shocked and repulsed by her husband’s "pornographic" work, Minna is fascinated.
Minna is everything Martha is not—intellectually curious, an avid reader, stunning. But while she and Freud embark on what is at first simply an intellectual courtship, something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, something Minna cannot escape.
This was definitely a different view of Freud from the one that I have from my psychology days. To view him as a romantic character was extremely hard for me to do. Most of my images of Sigmund Freud are of a stern, egotistical, cigar smoking man sitting beside a patient reclined on a couch. Having a degree in psychology, I spent a lot of time learning about Freud and his theories. I can honestly say after reading this novel, I still cannot see him as a romantic figure. I am however pleased with the portrayal of Freud.
As for the other characters in the book, I am torn. I couldn't stand Freud's wife - I found her annoyingly weak. Who doesn't know that your husband is having an affair with your sister in your own home! Maybe if you weren't hiding in your room, living in a drugged up world ... As for Minna, I really liked her for most of the book, that is until she completely fell apart after the realization that her lover really doesn't love her. This part of the novel was dragged out for what seemed like FOREVER! Her agonizing became tedious and quite frankly, boring.