(Review) The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell


Publication Date: March 1, 2016.
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon and Schuster. 
Genre: Fiction, Family Secrets, Bronte Novels.
Pages: 352.
Source: Free hard copy from Touchstone/Simon and Schuster in exchange for a review.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

Link for more info @ publisher. 
Link to browse inside book: The Madwoman Upstairs. 

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Anne, Emily, Charlotte. Their brother Branwell painted the portrait. He had painted himself in the portrait, but then removed himself. Painted 1834.

Further links for Bronte reading:
The Bronte Family
BBC History
Bronte Parsonage Museum

Summary:
Samantha Whipple is a new student at Old College, Oxford University, England. She is an English literature major. Samantha's father died leaving an inheritance of Bronte history and literature. She had lived with her father after her parents divorced. Samantha's mother lives in Paris, France.
Samantha takes a private study course on literature. The professor is James Timothy Orville III. He is a "research fellow in nineteenth-century British literature." They clash on ideology and communicate in bristly fashion.
Samantha's room is an isolated place in an old building. Bronte books begin arriving in her room. Speculations increase about where the books came from? Who is leaving them? What does this mysterious book arrival mean?

My Thoughts:
I loved this book!
I am a Bronte fan. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a favorite book, only surpassed by David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
The Madwoman Upstairs is a blend of several elements: mystery, classic literature, family legacy, romance, family secrets, and travel.
The Madwoman Upstairs is a first novel for Catherine Lowell. I'm amazed and pleased at this gem.
Samantha Whipple is a reluctant heroine. She is a tall girl with a tart response for every conversation. She is an intelligent young woman, but has insecurities. She is also still grieving the death of her father and her parents divorce. Her pain is stuffed, but it's manifested in sarcasm.
I love the element of the Bronte novels. The authors who wrote them, the history behind the novels, and the historical fiction on the background of the novels. The added historical fiction background I felt spiced up The Madwoman Upstairs. I felt it gave new insight to the origins of the books. I was intrigued and fascinated.
Samantha came across at first as a tough girl. However, she is vulnerable. She let down her strong persona and I love this, because it was then I could relate to her vulnerability and human weakness.
I'm pleased Samantha's character has a transformation, and the mystery element helped.
Samantha's experience at Old College gave her a chance to make peace with life, to become her own person, and have hope for the future.

   

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