Author: Catherine Lowell
Published: 3rd March 2016
I first came across the famous Brontë's was when I forced to read Wuthering Heights at school, which obviously didn't get me off to a good start. However reading The Madwoman Upstairs really has made me see the three Brontë sisters in a whole new light and made me want to read ALL of their books.
I started reading The Madwoman Upstairs with no expectations and to be perfectly honest I wasn't entirely sure what story was coming my way, but I think I actually fell a little bit in love with it.
The Madwoman Upstairs tells the story of Samantha Whipple, a descendant of the famous Brontë's. When her Father passes away she moves from America to attend Oxford University. Here she tries to piece together the mystery surrounding her inheritance and it leads her on a very Brontesque literary adventure. Although not a fast paced story, it really was one to get completely swept up in and I loved all the literary criticism discussions. I also really liked the way that Catherine perfectly and expertly interweaves parts of each of the Brontë's stories into this. I thought it worked really well and really added to the sense that Samantha Whipple was a Brontë descendant. I found it absolutely fascinating learning more about the Brontë's, you learn more about them as a family, their dynamics, other interests apart from writing and the mystery surrounding their lives and definitely means you see them in a whole new way.
I think what I enjoyed most about this was the eccentricity of it all and especially the main character Samantha Whipple. She was awkward but I adored her and she actually had a brilliantly dry sense of humour. She's not your stereotypical heroine and this is partly why I connected with her as a character so much and I think I would have become just as obsessed as she did about the Brontë's and the need to discover the mystery surrounding them and her inheritance. It very much reflected the tone and stories of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, which I thought this was positively brilliant and of course created a fantastically dark and mysterious atmosphere. This was also heightened by the tortured romance that Samantha suffers, a very clever addition to the plot.
I must also just mention how much I liked the ending. It tied up everything just nicely, whereas the author could have left us wondering.
Whether you are a fan of the Brontë's or not, I heartily recommend this book, it gives you a new view on the sisters and if not originally a massive fan like me, it may change your mind.
Fresh, unique and with a an unlikely, but fantastic heroine that shines a whole new light on the Brontë's