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Monday, September 9, 2013

TLC Book Tours Review and Giveaway: Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman

Title: Freud's Mistress
Authors: Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
Publish Date: July 9, 2013
Source: TLC Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical-fiction fan.
  • You like learning about lesser known historical figures.
What's the Story?:

From "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."

My Two Cents:

Sigmund Freud is definitely a divisive figure. Most of what I know of his only extends to his professional life and studies. Before reading this book, I didn't know much about his personal life. "Freud's Mistress" follows Freud's potential affair with his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays, who is not a well-known figure at all. Filled with great writing, this book gives a little more insight into the man that Sigmund Freud was.

First, you need to throw out everything you think about Freud and try to see him as a romantic figure. This was really hard for me to do but in the end. I definitely think that Minna liked Freud a lot more for his brains than anything else. Their courtship seemed to be created over her interest in his studies. This book is not the place to look for likeable characters. Both Minna and Freud are definitely not likeable. Both of them only seem to think of themselves and no one else seems to manner.

I really wanted to know more about the motivation behind Minna becoming Freud's mistress. Neither of them seem to have any regard for Martha's (Minna's sister and Freud's wife) feelings and I found myself wondering why that was as it is never really explained. Martha at one point even hints that she knows about Sigmund and Minna and yet, that doesn't seem to faze either one of them. I was especially surprised that Minna doesn't seem to care about her sister's feelings. She seems to like her sister and when she first moves in with the Freud's, she seems to care about her sister but we really don't get to see a point where this changes so we, the readers, are left in the dark.

This book is set mostly in Vienna with a little bit in Hamburg. I really liked the armchair traveling aspect of this book. I really liked the descriptions of both places, especially Vienna. I thought the authors did a really good job describing Freud's world in Vienna.

I found this book fascinating though! It definitely made me want to learn a little bit more about Freud. There has been a lot of debate about whether or not Sigmund and Minna actually had an affair. It's only recently that more scholars have begun to believe that they did indeed have an affair so it was very interesting to read this book with that in mind! 

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Monday, September 2nd: BookNAround
Monday, September 2nd: Peppermint PhD
Tuesday, September 3rd: The Lost Entwife
Wednesday, September 4th: Unabridged Chick
Friday, September 6th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, September 9th: A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, September 10th: Books in the Burbs
Wednesday, September 11th: A Novel Review
Thursday, September 12th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, September 13th: My Bookshelf
Monday, September 16th: Read Lately
Monday, September 16th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, September 17th: WalkieTalkieBookClub
Wednesday, September 18th: Lectus
Friday, September 20th: Book-alicious Mama
Friday, September 27th: guiltless reading
Monday, September 30th: Lavish Bookshelf


I am happy to give away a copy of this book to one lucky winner (US/CAN only, please). Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

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  1. This looks like a great book to curl up with this fall - thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Sounds promising. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. thanks for this fascinating giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. I know Freud was controversial for his work but I knew nothing of his personal life.

  5. I've heard both good and bad things about this book but I think I'd really enjoy it. Thanks for your review.

  6. Sounds interesting! I love historical fiction. I usually just keep my fingers crossed that they don't bend the truth too severely.

  7. The book sounds interesting. Sometimes I have a hard time with books when the characters are unlikeable, but I'd still like to give this one a try.

  8. I haven't decided about this one yet. The cover certainly is interesting. But I can believe it will be hard to throw out everything I know about Freud to try to see him as romantic!

  9. I don't know anything about Freud other than his theories, so I'm intrigued by this one!

    Thanks for being on the tour.


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