Reminds me of this book I read about a woman who espoused starvation as a medical treatment in Washington state:
In 1911 two wealthy British heiresses, Claire and Dora Williamson, arrived at a sanitorium in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to undergo the revolutionary “fasting treatment” of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. It was supposed to be a holiday for the two sisters, but within a month of arriving at what the locals called Starvation Heights, the women underwent brutal treatments and were emaciated shadows of their former selves.
That is to say, I wonder if some "professional" told them this was a good idea, what they needed to do in order to "get better", etc.
Oooh, to choose only one. . .
True Crime Fans: Starvation Heights by Gregg Olson.
Horror/Mystery Fans: December Park by Ronald Malfi