The Madwoman Upstairs

Catherine Lowell. S&S/Touchstone, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5011-2421-1
American Samantha Whipple’s hopes for an uneventful university career at Oxford are soon dashed when she realizes that everyone already knows her family story: she’s the last surviving twig of the Brontë family tree. What’s more, someone is frightening Samantha by surreptitiously planting her late father’s copies of Brontë novels in Samantha’s dorm room. Samantha had thought these were destroyed in the fire that killed her father several years earlier, but they may be cryptic clues to the mysterious Brontë estate Samantha stands to inherit. Samantha’s maddeningly demanding (and handsome) tutor, James Orville, is no help—he flat-out refuses to discuss the Brontës. Lowell’s debut novel offers some intriguing speculation about Brontë family dynamics, particularly with regard to the life and work of lesser-known sister Anne; the repeated discussions of authorial intent, however, will likely be glossed over by all but the most dedicated English majors. Even without its attraction for Brontë-philes, however, this is an enjoyable academic romp that successfully combines romance and intrigue, one that benefits from never taking itself too seriously. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/11/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-5011-2422-8
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