FREUD'S MISTRESS – Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman
Amy Einhorn Books
Austria and Germany – 1895
Minna Bernays was a young woman born before her time. Well educated, but unhappy with the limited offerings for women in her day, she moved from one lady's companion job to another. Not all gave her good references either, as she made it too clear that she had little use for the inconsequential lives her employers lived. When she is terminated from one more position, Minna realizes she has few options open to her. Look for a job with another inconsiderate, frivolous rich woman, resort to marriage, which Minna looks on as a form of prison, or seek shelter with her sister and her husband and their six children? She chooses what she feels will be a temporary visit with Martha, hoping to figure out a productive future for herself.
Minna's sister, Martha, is the frazzled mother of six and the wife of Sigmund Freud. At this point in his career, Freud is struggling with his practice and hoping for a permanent position as a professor. But his seemingly outlandish theories about how the human mind works have left him spurned by the medical community. Minna, however, is fascinated and appalled at the same time by his teachings. As she settles into the household, taking over much of the care of the children, as well as other chores, Minna begins to develop a friendship with her brother-in-law sitting up late at night discussing his theories, and trying to understand why her sister isn't more supportive of Freud. But is the real truth that Martha does understand her husband all too well? Eventually, Minna and Sigmund's friendship begins to develop into something closer.
FREUD'S MISTRESS is based on historical fact, and the research done on the mysterious sister-in-law of Freud is meticulous. This free-spirited, intelligent woman is presented in a realistic way that made for an entertaining read as we delve into the thoughts and aspirations of Minna Bernays.
Historically accurate and well-written, I highly recommend FREUD'S MISTRESS.