Freud's Mistress

Freud's Mistress

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Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack, Jennifer Kaufman

“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 fin-de-siècle Vienna, it was not easy for a woman to find fulfillment both intellectually and sexually.

But many believe that Minna Bernays was able to find both with one man—her brother-in-law, Sigmund Freud.

At once a portrait of two sisters—the rebellious, independent Minna and her inhibited sister, Martha—and of the compelling and controversial doctor who would be revered as one of the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers, Freud’s Mistress is a novel rich with passion and historical detail and “a portrait of forbidden desire [with] a thought-provoking central question: How far are you willing to go to be happy?”*

*Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399163074
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/09/2013
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 855,737
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.16(h) x 1.16(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman are the authors of two bestselling novels, Literacy and Longing in L.A. and A Version of the Truth. They both reside in Los Angeles.

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Freud's Mistress 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
Over the years there has been speculation of an affair between Freud and his sister-in-law, Minna Berneays. Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman looked at historical facts and created a very interesting fictionalized story of what happened between them. Minna worked in a number of homes as a Lady’s Companion. When she lost yet another job she went and stayed with her sister, Martha and her husband Sigmund Freud. There she helped her sister tend her six children. Martha seems overwhelmed with the children and the task of running the house. Minna observes her sister is an avid user of opium (even giving the opium to the children). Freud is consumed by his work and proving his theories (Oedipus Complex) to his fellow colleagues. Minna is a different sort of woman in her own right. She is an avid reader, follows politics, she is intellectually curious about the world. Minna almost immediately becomes intrigued by Freud’s work. The two begin to spend a considerable amount of time together discussing his work, while Freud is barely around Martha and the children. Slowly an intellectual affair occurs between the two. As the two grow closer is that really enough? Freud’s Mistress was immediately added to my wishlist when I read about it. I really enjoy reading fictionalized stories about real life people. I have a tremendous appreciation for the amount of research it must take. Like most people I was well aware of Freud’s theories and was interested in learning more about the man himself. In the novel, Freud comes off very full of himself and rather uninterested in those around him, very egotistical. His wife, Martha seemed so overwhelmed by her life. I was fairly sympathetic to her. Freud seemed very uninterested in his wife since her world did not revolve around him. Then there is Minna.  I was a little surprised she was not more upset by Freud’s indifference to her sister. As a sister, I would be upset if I saw my brother-in-law act the way Freud did and I would like to think I wouldn’t be pulled into his world. The build-up of the relationship between Minna and Freud seemed to take awhile to get moving, so the beginning of the novel was slow. The story was written with a third person point of view, which almost exclusively centered on Minna. I really enjoyed the story and thought it was well written, but the one thing I found is occasionally the authors would suddenly center on Freud or Martha for a single sentence or paragraph and I found that slightly jarring to read. It was rarely done, but wanted to mention it. Over all I really enjoyed the novel.  I would definitely recommend Freud’s Mistress, but I would say give the novel some time to develop. Once the story really got moving, I was swept away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Despite the 2 stars, I found this book an interesting read but it seems the authors just didn't have that much to go on. The Freud's must have been very private to have so little known about them. Perhaps the authors could have gone a bit more into Freud's upbringing or to help fill his complexities out even more. I was looking for more psychology in this book about the father of psychoanalysis. That said, I did enjoy the snapshots of fin de siecle Vienna.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story not well developed. Looking for a great read-had no trouble putting it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Psychology majors will enjoy this book more than i did. Too much time spent on theories and not enough developing the relationship.
louie99 More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed in this book, I don't think it ever developed a 'relationship', just speculation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoying this read thoroughly. Unable to put this book down. Good period piece depicting life as a single Jewish woman in the 1800's in Vienna, who knew Dr Sigmund Freud too well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SilversReviews More than 1 year ago
Out of work and no where to go, Minna had no other recourse but to ask her sister to take her in. Minna knew the household wouldn't be calm with six children and a household staff¿, but she managed. In fact, she managed very well. The children fell in love with her and so did her brother-in-law. Or did he really fall in love with her or was she simply a convenience?¿ Sigmund Freud ¿betrayed ¿¿his wife, ¿and Minna betrayed her sister. The affair started out with ¿early evening and some ¿late night meetings that included flirting and drugs. Did his wife know about the affair or was she too addicted to opium to even notice? You will definitely dislike Sigmund Freud as a person and question his thinking about why people develop psychological disorders. He was arrogant, a smooth operator, apparently quite good looking,¿ and he used his field of study to his advantage. He was not a kind man especially to women, but he knew how to seduce Minna. He had no regard for his wife who had six children with him. Minna, “the mistress," was actually likable because even though she knew she couldn't stop herself about wanting to be with Freud, she did feel guilty. ¿ It was funny to be reminded that women of that era were so set on only finding a husband and no career per say except as domestic help, a companion for another woman, or caring for children. FREUD’S MISTRESS was enjoyable and very well written. The book flowed nicely, and you could actually visualize everything and feel the characters' emotions and moods because of Ms. Mack’s and Ms. Kaufman’s marvelous writing skills.¿ Some of the characters and some of the situations were comical. Love, infidelity, history, comedy, Freud's theories, ¿and social issues were the main themes.¿ It is always interesting to¿ look into the life of a famous person especially during the 1800's. ¿If you like historical fiction, you should enjoy FREUD'S MISTRESS. 4/5 The ending notes from the authors that contained information about Sigmund Freud's life was quite interesting and helpful. This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.¿
52chickadees More than 1 year ago
“A Tender Love Story Punctuated With Misplaced Loyalty and Betrayal” At almost thirty years of age, attractive and well-educated Minna Bernays should be married with children, but instead, she is employed by brusque, stern, unsympathetic Baroness Wolff as her “Lady’s Companion”—that is, until she left her employ, taking 10 yr. old scullery maid, Flora with her. Minna had been hired and fired several times before, so the question of future employment was not foremost on her mind—the safety and well-being of the child was. When the realization of how difficult finding another job at her age was going to be, and knowing she could not go back to her childhood home to be with her estranged, widowed Mother, she wrote to her older Sister, Martha, hoping to stay with her and her family until another opportunity presented itself. As it so happens, Martha’s Husband is struggling Professor, Dr. Sigmund Freud. Martha and Sigmund have six children, with the youngest being an infant, so, perhaps, Minna thinks, they could use her help. She is welcomed into the household and,little by little, discovers her Sister’s marriage is not all she had figured it might be. Cold, demanding, hypochondriac Martha and the aloof, self-centered, workaholic Sigmund are quite the pair. His overworked demeanor from dusk to dawn holds mountains of paperwork that neither his colleagues nor his wife were interested in-- in fact, Martha proclaimed them as pornography. Dr. Freud was convinced that sexual impulses were the root of many types of problems. The only one interested in his theories is Minna, who worked her way into his study, and ultimately, into his heart. Frightened, Minna tried to separate herself from the family and the temptations that surrounded her, but, to no avail. She became entangled in something she never thought she’d ever consider—an affair with her Sister’s Husband! The stress and guilt engulf her as much as the all-consuming passion she feels for the bearded, egotistical Dr. and she knows this will only end badly. Ms. Mack and Ms. Kaufman have painted a vivid portrait of the several faces of love. Their works will have you completely enraptured within this tender love story punctuated by misplaced loyalty and betrayal. I have my own theories of what really happened in Meran and it includes selfishness and misplaced trust. This volume is also a combination of fiction and fact, including the real letters that were discovered and released by the Freuds’ Daughter, Anna in 1972. Once you start this book, you won’t want to put it down! Make room on your bookshelf for this one—you will not be disappointed! Nancy Narma
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Addicting book.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A piece of historical fiction that had me always guessing where the truth ended.  Sigmund Freud is not so happily married and his sister-in-law has lost her fiancee to disease, so after a few jobs as companions to other ladies, she is invited to move into the Freud home - drama ensues. As I didn't know much about Freud in general, I found this book to be interesting because it made quite a few mentions of how Freud came up with his theories.  I took a few breaks in the book to read up on Freud and find out more about him and the science he created.  My favorite character was his wife, at first I found her to be homely, naive and just oblivious to all the things going on around her, but she definitely had some character growth and ended up being a stand out character.  I felt for Minna as she was trying to find her own life and I am not sure if she ever did.
MJMilkyWay More than 1 year ago
Although I felt the story got a bit tedious at times and went on just a beat too long, I did enjoy this book. Since this is based on real people and some true events, I found it fun to research the individuals involved. This is a good book club selection; the conversation is sure to flow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting! I learned a great deal about the time period, Freud as a person and doctor and the role of women associated with famous men. This is a good choice for a book club read and discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Barbaraketubah More than 1 year ago
This writing was a good combination of fact and fiction. Lots of things one didn't know about Freud and his "issues," and how others around him handles theirs!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
beulah1 More than 1 year ago
A fast read...never a dull moment..I walked away with a better understanding about the enigma known as Freud! I highly recommend this book.
MahMah More than 1 year ago
Who knew Freud was such a bastard!!!! A genius of his time, maybe -- but still a bastard!
Warain81 More than 1 year ago
Freud's Mistress was of particular interest as I enjoy Victorian Literature. I have a degree in psych so enjoy the Freud character and the development of His theories. I am interested in troubled marriages and this one was a doozy!! From hotel receipts I do believe Freud had This mistress. I also believe he was "Kind of crazy" himself as a lot of people in Psychology and psychiatry are :) Crazy in an interesting way of course. I enjoyed the history, politics, and mores of the times and how they effected the development Of his theories and his own behavior. He especially was a horrible husband, even an "unfaithful" lover. His parenting skills were bizarre but maybe not so strange for era. Anyway, I truly enjoyed this book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The problem with this kind of book is that the blend of fact and fiction is difficult to obtain. The book fails to hold the reader's attention in either area. This is sad, because the story had possibilities.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down. Loved the mix of facts & fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Historical fiction at its best! I could not put this book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago