Freud's Mistress

Freud's Mistress

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
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His therories would change the world - and tear hers apart.

In the vibrant, extravagant world of turn-of-the-century Vienna, Minna Bernays is an overeducated lady's companion with a sharp, wry wit. Unwilling to settle and marry, she has spent years working for frivolous, difficult women, stuck in a social limbo, neither servant nor master. When Minna is abruptly fired, she finds herself out on the street and out of options. In 1895, the city is aswirl with avant-garde artists and writers and revolutionary ideas, but a single woman's only hope for security is still marriage. In desperation, she turns to her sister, Martha, for help.

But Martha has her own problems - six young children and an overworked disinterested husband who happens to be the brilliant but imperious Sigmund Freud.

At this time, Freud is a struggling professor, all but shunned by his peers and under attack for his theories, most of which center around sexual impulses. And while Martha is shocked and repulsed by her husband's 'pornographic' work, her sister is fascinated by his startling discoveries.

Minna is everything Martha is not - intellectually curious, engaging, and passionate. Minna and Freud embark on what is, at first, simply a meeting of the minds, but something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, an inevitable catastrophe that she cannot escape.

In this sweeping tale of love, loyalty, and betrayal, fact and fiction meld seamlessly together. After years of research, Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman have constructed a compelling portrait of an unforgettable woman and her struggle to reconcile her love for her sister with her obsessive desire for her sister's husband, the mythic father of psychoanalysis.

Praise for Freud's Mistress

'Intriguing, illuminating, and wholly engrossing . . . Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman render fin-de-si#65533;cle Vienna and the Freud household so vividly one can almost smell the coal fires and cigar smoke.' Jennifer Chiaverini author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

'I found myself entirely absorbed by the era, the history, the characters, the drama of this book . . . . It's a fascinating story told in an utterly compelling fashion. While reading it, I felt as if I were a part of the world of these people - which is at once frightening and exhilarating. Freud's Mistress is a wonderful, engaging, and bittersweet novel. I absolutely loved it.' Garth Stein New York Times - bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

'In Freud's Mistress , Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman succeed where so many historical novels flounder- they weave an unexpected tale of human desire and the bonds of love, based firmly in the rich and relevant source material they've scoured for details of the daily lives of fin-de-si#65533;cle Viennese and - fascinatingly - the inner life of Dr. Sigmund Freud.' Lisa See New York Times - bestselling author

'It is almost impossible to pass up a novel inspired by Sigmund Freud's rumored affair with his sister-in-law. This is a story that will appeal to the Pleasure Principle of many a reader.' Whitney Otto author of Eight Girls Taking Pictures and How to Make an American Quilt

'If you want to understand the obsessive pull of the human heart, you could spend a lifetime on the couch, or you could read this dazzling novel . . . . This is a book to savor.' Sheri Holman author of Witches on the Road Tonight and The Dress Lodger

'Book groups looking for a great selection? Look no more! This is Sigmund Freud like we've never known him. Insecure, passionate, even sexy. Who knew?' Esmerald Santiago New York Times - bestselling author of Conquistadora

Publisher: New York : G. P. Putnams Sons, c2013
ISBN: 9780399163074
Branch Call Number: MAC
Characteristics: 357 p. ;,24 cm
Additional Contributors: Kaufman, Jennifer

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KennethRossHalvorson Aug 10, 2014

Freud was such a jerk that he spoiled
a nicely written story.

o
odettewright
Jun 01, 2014

A thoroughly enjoyable book, well written and thought-provoking

m
maipenrai
Feb 20, 2014

1 1/2 * stars. Minna Bernays is an overeducated woman with limited options. Fired yet again for speaking her mind, she finds herself out on the street with few options. In 1895 Vienna, marriage and family are are regarded as the primary role for women. Minna wants more. 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. At this point he 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. She is everything Martha is not ?intellectually curious, an avid reader, and 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. *** As a former teacher of psychology I had not heard about this aspect of Freud's life. The book is factually based and certainly provides an interesting look at Freud's view of women. This is not a bad book, but I did not really bond with anyone. I think I would have been happier reading a good biography of Freud that looked more at his private life. I have certainly read enough about his psychological theories and their development. I think I simply chose the wrong book to read. Cannot recommend.

j
joalo
Jan 15, 2014

Right on BlueHippo!
All the same, a good glimpse of the times and Viennese society then….whether or not of Freud himself...

b
BlueHippo
Oct 19, 2013

Good read. Although fiction and a lot of the details had to be speculation, the authors explain the facts on which they base the story. I know that this was a different times and culture, but I must admit I came away from the book with a less than stellar image of Freud and a question as to how this woman (Minna) could have been so stupid! (What did she think was going to happen at the "spa" and why didn't she just leave and head for her brother's in America before her appointment day? After all, who was the spa there to please-her or Freud?-he was paying the bills after all). It's amazing how Minna was okay with being used by both her sister and Freud. She was basically a slave to her sister and I bet her sister also felt that it was better to have her husband cavorting with her sister than some other woman I also wonder if Freud's relationship with some of the men he worked with was more than just professional. I was just struck by how these well-educated and obviously smart people could do such stupid things, fail to see their own situations, and make such a mess of their lives.

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