The Strange Case of Madeleine Seguin: A Novel - William Rose
It is Paris in the 1880s and the century is in its final decadent throes as it moves towards the fin-de-siècle. New scientific ideas are countered by a resurgent interest in the practice of magic, whilst in the arts the Symbolists are exploring the strangeness of dream and the imagination.
In the Salpêtrière Hospital, hundreds of female patients are suffering from the curious malady of 'hysteria'. Many of these are being treated by hypnosis under the regime of the celebrated and charismatic Professor Jean-Martin Charcot. One such patient is Madeleine Seguin, a young woman whose past is a mystery and who evokes a fascination and possessiveness in those who come close to her.
As well as the doctors Madeleine will encounter a young Symbolist artist, a Catholic priest, a powerful aristocrat, and most dangerously, those practising the darkest aspects of the occult, each of whom will try to save or corrupt her. She must survive them all if she is to shape her own destiny.