> Skip to content
  • Published: 16 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9780857527028
  • Imprint: Doubleday
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $35.00

The Mad Women's Ball

Now an Amazon Prime Original Film Starring Mélanie Laurent




For fans of The Doll Factory and The Familiars, a gemlike novel set in a Parisian asylum in 1885 about two women - one deemed mad, the other sane - who find their salvation at The Mad Women's Ball

'A darkly sumptuous tale of wicked spectacle, wild injustice and the insuppressible strength of women' EMMA STONEX, author of THE LAMPLIGHTERS

'In this darkly delightful Gothic treasure, Mas explores grief, trauma and sisterhood behind the walls of Paris' infamous Salpetriere hospital' PAULA HAWKINS, author of A SLOW FIRE BURNING

'A beautifully written debut...I have absolutely no doubt it will be one of my favourite novels of 2021.' AJ PEARCE, author of DEAR MRS BIRD

The Salpêtrière asylum, 1885. All of Paris is in thrall to Doctor Charcot and his displays of hypnotism on women who have been deemed mad or hysterical, outcasts from society. But the truth is much more complicated - for these women are often simply inconvenient, unwanted wives or strong-willed daughters. Once a year a grand ball is held at the hospital. For the Parisian elite, the Mad Women's Ball is the highlight of the social season; for the women themselves, it is a rare moment of hope.

Geneviève is a senior nurse. After the childhood death of her sister, she has shunned religion and placed her faith in Doctor Charcot and his new science. But everything begins to change when she meets Eugénie, the 19-year-old daughter of a bourgeois family. Because Eugénie has a secret, and she needs Geneviève's help. Their fates will collide on the night of the Mad Women's Ball...

'Essential reading' COSMOPOLITAN

'A deftly woven tale of hope and pain, judgement and redemption, cruelty and kindness. Utterly captivating and profoundly affecting.' Sunday Times bestseller, MIRANDA DICKENSON

'Enter the dance of this little masterpiece and let yourself be dazzled. Assured of hitting the bestseller lists' THE PARISIAN

'A lovely, moving first novel, a cri de coeur against the condition of women in this world'MARIE FRANCE

'The Mad Women's Ball is as lush on the inside as it is on the outside! It's richly immersive, taking us right into the heart of nineteenth-century Paris.' SHELLEY HARRIS, author of the Sunday Times bestseller JUBILEE

  • Published: 16 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9780857527028
  • Imprint: Doubleday
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $35.00

About the author

Victoria Mas

Victoria Mas is 32. The Mad Women's Ball, her first novel, has won several prizes in France and been hailed as the bestselling debut of the season. She has worked in film in the United States, where she lived for eight years. She is the daughter of the singer
Jeanne Mas.

Praise for The Mad Women's Ball

A deftly woven tale of hope and pain, judgement and redemption, cruelty and kindness. Utterly captivating and profoundly affecting, the story of The Salpêtrière lingers long in the mind after the stunning conclusion. I loved it.

Miranda Dickinson

The Mad Women's Ball is as lush on the inside as it is on the outside! It's richly immersive, taking us right into the heart of nineteenth-century Paris. From Genevieve, Eugenie and the women of Salpêtrière we learn what it is that keeps women locked up - and the extraordinary ways in which they might escape.

Shelley Harris, author of Jubilee

THE MAD WOMEN'S BALL is a darkly sumptuous tale of wicked spectacle, wild injustice and the insuppressible strength of women. Mas brings the world of La Salpêtrière to life with passion and fury, unveiling a hypnotic theatre that is as moving as it is macabre.

Emma Stonex, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Lamplighters

'Enter the dance of this little masterpiece and let yourself be dazzled. Assured of hitting the bestseller lists'

THE PARISIAN

In this darkly delightful Gothic treasure, Mas explores grief, trauma and sisterhood behind the walls of Paris' infamous Salpetriere hospital.

PAULA HAWKINS, Sunday Times bestselling author of A SLOW FIRE BURNING and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

A beautifully written debut set in Paris in 1885, Victoria Mas' characters come to life within a sentence while her storytelling compels you to turn the page. I loved The Mad Women's Ball and have absolutely no doubt it will be one of my favourite novels of 2021.

AJ PEARCE, author of DEAR MRS BIRD

[Victoria Mas's]... portrait of women who were unfairly banished to asylums often because they did not fit into the straightjacket of 19th-century society is moving... beautifully drawn.

THE TIMES

Elegantly written, Victoria Mas's slender, potent debut celebrates sisterhood, while also exposing the corrupt powers of the patriarchy at home and in the wider world.

DAILY MAIL

[An] essential story of women resisting the unjust exertion of male power.

SUNDAY TIMES

Enthralling and wonderfully imagined... written with terrific verve and sympathy.

LITERARY REVIEW

A well-written historical novel... book groups will thoroughly engage with the plot and characters.

NB Magazine

A gothic, feminist book ...so cinematic it is already being turned into a film...it evokes the Brontës, with its dormitories, its phials and its ghosts. But thematically, it is bang up to date.

BIG ISSUE

Related titles