A Different Kind of Angel

A Novel

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
225 Pages
Reviewed on 12/30/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite

A Different Kind of Angel by Paulette Mahurin commences with the reader's introduction to Klara, an immigrant who has fled Russia from the pogroms of the late 1880s. She arrives in New York, alone, having lost her father, her last living relative, on the long journey to America. The victim of an attack and unable to speak English to explain what has happened, Klara is unjustly accused of being insane and sentenced to an indefinite term in Blackwell’s Island Asylum. There, she struggles to overcome the injustices foisted upon her until one day a new woman arrives who proves to be more than just another cog in Klara’s woeful story.

There is something entirely captivating about Paulette Mahurin’s novel, A Different Kind of Angel. It was interesting to see the expose of Nellie Bly told through the eyes of a fictional inmate at the asylum. It was an all too common practice to lock women up who did not fit into the mold of the time, dating back further than the setting of Mahurin’s novel. It has prompted me to want to read more about Nellie Bly and how she broke down barriers, shedding light on the inhumane treatment of the women incarcerated in Blackwell’s Island Asylum. Mahurin touches on how misunderstanding often leads to fear, in the case of Klara. Because they perceived her to be drunk, they made automatic judgments about her. I would certainly recommend this novel to anyone with an interest in the history of how barriers were broken down in the treatment of those with mental illnesses.