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Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack
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Freud's Mistress (edition 2013)

by Karen Mack, Jennifer Kaufman

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2143380,778 (3.41)3
Member:milibrarian
Title:Freud's Mistress
Authors:Karen Mack
Other authors:Jennifer Kaufman
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2013), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Dr. Sigmund Freud, Minna Bernay, psychoanalysis, romance, historical fiction, family relationships

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Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
his wife's sister — lived with them 40 yrs — was he a genius or egoist — Germany, Vienna — turn of century — London w/ war — turned in Jews
Okay

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.
  christinejoseph | May 28, 2018 |
I will start off this review by noting two things, first, it's pretty weird reading a historical (romance) with Freud as the man in the leading role and secondly, Freud is a bit of an ashole. Now, the picture I have in my head is of the older Freud, but he is quite young in this book, but I still had a hard time seeing The Father of Psychoanalysis seducing his sisters-in-law.

However, despite that was this book quite good. I liked getting a closer look into Freud's own marriage and his close relationship with Martha. It's not proven that they had an affair although there is some documented evidence of it. Still, it was fascinating to read this book, not just for the romance between Freud and Martha, but for the historical setting and how hard it is for Freud to win favor for his ideas.

It's also interesting to read how Freud seems to be obsessed with a person for a time and then move on. At one point is it Martha that captivated him, and in the next moment is there someone else and it's not always sexually, he just finds someone ideas utterly captivating. I do feel sorry for Martha, but then again, the woman that should have most sympathy is Minna. But, she seems to know her husband quite well by then and doesn't seem to care so much about his for the moment passion for Martha. As I wrote above, Freud is an ashole!

Anyway, I quite liked this book, and if you like historical fiction do I recommend this book warmly! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 14, 2017 |
Not my favorite book but it was well-written. Freud comes off like a huge jerk, so that was fun. It held my interest. ( )
  IWantToBelieve | Jul 5, 2017 |
Predictable but well written. The author's description of the period adds to the story. ( )
  LivelyLady | Jul 13, 2015 |
When you thought you had enough reasons to dislike Sigmund Freud...Minna is Freud's spinster sister-in-law (and how she HATES the term "spinster") who must make her own way. Her fiancee has died, and she is not terribly interested in the men who pursue her, and she's not terribly good at being a governess (and what other profession is there for a woman of her class). She goes to her sister's house and awkwardly her brother-in-law and she begin an affair which sparkles and then immediately dwindles as it turns out the Freud is just another "see if you can make 'em care, and leave 'em when you find you can" sort of guy; A short attention span man whose wife knows exactly what's what, but doesn't quite care. And Minna is left to live the rest of her life in the shadow of that passion (which she thought was real). The seduction scene made me flinch because of the cliches Freud uses (I'm not sure they were new in the early 20th century), and I felt really bad for Minna.
A good historical novel with sources and an explanation at the end to entice the really interested. ( )
  minxcr1964 | Apr 3, 2015 |
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Book description
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, disinterested husband who happens to be 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, Minna is fascinated.

Minna is everything Martha is not—intellectually curious, engaging, and passionate. 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, creating 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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399163077, Hardcover)

 

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, disinterested husband who happens to be 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, Minna is fascinated.
 
Minna is everything Martha is not—intellectually curious, engaging, and passionate. 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, creating 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.
 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:29 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A tale inspired by the affair between Sigmund Freud and his sister-in-law depicts the struggles of Minna Bernays, an educated woman uninterested in conventional women's roles who becomes fascinated with her brother-in-law's pioneering theories.

(summary from another edition)

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