Synopses & Reviews
His theories would change the world and tear hers apart.
A page-turning novel inspired by the true-life love affair between Sigmund Freud and his sister-in-law.
It is fin-de-siècle Vienna and Minna Bernays, an overeducated lady's companion with a sharp, wry wit, is abruptly fired, yet again, from her position. She finds herself out on the street and out of options. In 1895, the city may be aswirl with avant-garde artists and revolutionary ideas, yet a woman's only hope for security is still marriage. But Minna is unwilling to settle. Out of desperation, she turns to her sister, Martha, for help.
Martha has her own problems six young children and an absent, uninterested husband who happens to be Sigmund Freud. He 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, Minna is fascinated.
Minna is everything Martha is not intellectually curious, an avid reader and a beguiling beauty. She and Freud embark on what is at first simply an intellectual courtship, yet something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, something Minna cannot escape.
In this sweeping tale of love, loyalty, and betrayal between a husband and a wife, between sisters fact and fiction seamlessly blend together to offer an intimate peek at Minna's profound influence on the founding father of psychoanalysis, while revealing her unforgettable story of internal conflict and passion.
"Historical romance fans will speed through the pages and find fodder for book club discussions." Library Journal, starred review
"A thrilling story of seduction, betrayal, and loss, Freud's Mistress will titillate fans of Memoirs of a Geisha and The Other Boleyn Girl." Booklist
“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-siècle Viennese, and — fascinatingly — the inner life of Dr. Sigmund Freud.” Lisa See, New York Times-bestselling author
"Its 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
"[A]n intriguing, illuminating, and wholly engrossing account of the affair between Sigmund Freud and his headstrong, intelligent sister-in-law, Minna Bernays. Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman render fin-de-siècle Vienna and the Freud household so vividly one can almost smell the coal fires and cigar smoke.” Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Lincolns Dressmaker
“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 about Minna Bernays's love affair with her brother-in-law, Sigmund Freud....[T]his is a book to savor.” Sheri Holman, author of Witches on the Road Tonight and The Dress Lodger
“It is almost impossible to pass up a novel inspired by Sigmund Freuds' 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
For fans of The Paris Wife
, Loving Frank
, The Other Boleyn Girl
and Shanghai Girls
... a novel inspired by the true-life love affair between Sigmund Freud and his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays.
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.
About the Author
Karen Mack, a former attorney, is a Golden Globe award-winning film and television producer. Jennifer Kaufman is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and a two-time winner of the national Penney-Missouri Journalism Award. They both reside in Los Angeles and this is their third novel. Their first novel, Literacy and Longing in L.A. was on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list for 15 weeks reaching #1 and won the Best Fiction Award from the Southern California Bookseller’s Association. Their second novel, A Version of the Truth, was also on the L.A. Times bestseller list.