Featured Review: The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

About this book:

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.

 

 

*Review contributed by Joanne Mumley, Staff Reviewer*

 

So Fun to Read

Lowell says it best when she writes that Jane Eyre is the “collective imagination of a million teenage girls.”

 

I fell in love with the Brontës and Austen in high school. I hate to admit that I went through the phase where I read everything cover to cover and then attacked and ferociously read anything connected to them like Wide Sargasso Sea and the Madwoman in the Attic. True to form, The Madwoman Upstairs is a book I just want to hug! It was an incredibly fun read- I didn’t want to say goodbye. 
It is easy to connect to Samantha Whipple. She is sarcastic, funny, and incredibly intelligent. She has her faults and owns them. She knows she is different, having been homeschooled by her eclectic father. So when her Oxford professor starts to question her analytical skills, her responses are often witty. 

 

The Brontë treasure that Samantha goes out is not only a search for her family treasures. On the way she discovers herself and some dark family secrets. Lowell flawlessly weaves a literary treasure hunt with a journey to self- discovery and acceptance. It is hard not to gush on about this book without giving too much away. The best part is the ride!

 

Pull up a comfy chair, a cup of hot tea, and a blanket. Pick up The Madwoman Upstairs and enter a world of mystery, the English Moors, stone hallways and college towers. Step into twists and turns, secrets and surprises. The Madwoman Upstairs is a great book for anyone interested in a bookish mystery- especially those who love the Brontes!

 

*You can find this review HERE!*