Review & Giveaway: The Girl Puzzle by Kate Braithwaite

The Girl Puzzle by Kate Braithwaite

Publication Date: May 5, 2019
Crooked Cat Books
eBook & Paperback; 263 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Her published story is well known. But did she tell the whole truth about her ten days in the madhouse?

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. But what happened to her poor friend, Tilly Mayard? Was there more to her high praise of Dr Frank Ingram than everyone knew?

Thirty years later, Elizabeth, known as Nellie Bly, is no longer a celebrated trailblazer and the toast of Newspaper Row. Instead, she lives in a suite in the Hotel McAlpin, writes a column for The New York Journal and runs an informal adoption agency for the city’s orphans.

Beatrice Alexander is her secretary, fascinated by Miss Bly and her causes and crusades. Asked to type up a manuscript revisiting her employer’s experiences in the asylum in 1887, Beatrice believes she’s been given the key to understanding one of the most innovative and daring figures of the age.

"Novelist Braithwaite (The Road to Newgate, 2018, etc.) delivers a well-researched and engrossing tale that focuses on female empowerment. A story of grit and perseverance that will appeal to readers interested in the history of women in journalism." - Kirkus Reviews



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 taken to New York's Blackwell Island Asylum. While there she gets to know the patients and reports on their care and the conditions of the hospital. In the 1920 timeline Nellie works at an adoption agency with a mission of helping the city's orphans, and her story is told by her secretary Beatriz.

Nellie is a big inspiration for me. The work she did to bring light to the many injustices in the world and how she stood up for women, children, and the poor makes her a hero in my book. She didn't take no for an answer and we as women owe a lot to her for where we are now.

"You don't pull punch, Miss Bly. Are you what we might call a man-hater?"

"Not at all," she said, straightening her chair and smile. "I don't like to see unfairness though. And I don't think all men are better than women, just by virtue of them being men."

The Girl Puzzle was a fascinating look at Nellie Bly's life and one of the most important stories of her career. Kate's writing is fantastic - she really knows how to keep the plot moving and bring the story to life. She definitely did Nellie proud! Highly recommended!

Available at Amazon

About the Author

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.

The Girl Puzzle is her third novel.

For more information, please visit Kate's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Sunday, May 5
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 6
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 8
Feature at What Is That Book About

Thursday, May 9
Review at Orange County Readers

Friday, May 10
Review at Macsbooks

Monday, May 13
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Wednesday, May 15
Review at Kate Rock Lit Chick
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, May 17
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Coffee and Ink


During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a signed copy of The Girl Puzzle by Kate Braithwaite! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Girl Puzzle

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