The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell
ISBN: 9781501124211 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781501126307 (trade paperback – 11/22/2016 [cover image shown at right])
ISBN: 9781501124228 (ebook)
ASIN: B010MH1D6U (Kindle edition)
Publication date: March 1, 2016 | November 22, 2016
In this smart and enthralling debut in the spirit of The Weird Sisters and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family’s long-rumored secret estate, using clues her eccentric father left behind.
Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. As the last remaining descendant of the Brontë family, she’s rumored to have inherited a vital, mysterious portion of the Brontë’s literary estate; diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts; a hidden fortune that’s never been shown outside of the family.
But Samantha has never seen this rumored estate, and as far as she knows, it doesn’t exist. She has no interest in acknowledging what the rest of the world has come to find so irresistible; namely, the sudden and untimely death of her eccentric father, or the cryptic estate he has bequeathed to her.
But everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and bits and pieces of her past start mysteriously arriving at her doorstep, beginning with an old novel annotated in her father’s handwriting. As more and more bizarre clues arrive, Samantha soon realizes that her father has left her an elaborate scavenger hunt using the world’s greatest literature. With the aid of a handsome and elusive Oxford professor, Samantha must plunge into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontë’s own writing.
A fast-paced adventure from start to finish, this vibrant and original novel is a moving exploration of what it means when the greatest truth is, in fact, fiction.
“A piquant paean to the Brontë sisters….Filled with gothic twists and leading [the reader] down pathways strewn with Brontë arcana.” — The New York Times Book Review
“Lowell crafts a first novel that is enthralling as it is heartbreaking. Brontë aficionados and fans of Soane Crosley’s The Clasp will love this title.”— Library Journal starred review
“The novel untangles scholars’ differing interpretations of the Brontë novels and the tantalizing hints the books offer readers about the Brontë sisters’ lives. Who, if anyone, was the real-life model for Mr. Rochester’s imprisoned, mentally ill wife? And was she really mad?”— Wall Street Journal
“For those who like their Brontë with a side of wry, turn to the hilarious The Madwoman Upstairs… Sam’s self-conscious quips are LOL hilarious and do Ms. Brontë proud.”
— USA Today
“The Madwoman Upstairs had me hooked well into the wee hours; this book is absolutely addictive. Set in the most romantic parts of Britain, the story takes us on a clever present-day romp through the literary universe of the enigmatic Brontës and drills deeply into all their dangerous secrets. Catherine Lowell has such a unique, inspired turn of phrase that you’ll find yourself laughing out loud even as she lures you deeper and deeper into this delicious mystery that is destined to become the page-turner of the year.”
— Anne Fortier, Author of Juliet
“Catherine Lowell’s debut is a smart and funny literary mystery set among the dreaming spires of Oxford University. Lowell’s deft handling of her quirky characters and unpredictable plot twists make The Madwoman Upstairs a charming and memorable read.”
— Deborah Harkness, author of the All Souls Trilogy
“The storyline takes readers on a crazy ride of clues and reveals interesting facts about the Brontë family in the process. Lowell has hit it out of the ballpark with this novel.”
— RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)
“A smart, clever and properly Gothic novel….Deftly, Lowell combines a rollicking treasure hunt with a wickedly dark story.”— Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Read an excerpt here.
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