Samantha Whipple is the last living relative of the famed and enigmatic Brontë sisters, and is doing her best to keep as far away as possible from the public, the press, and a particularly nosy historian, all of whom are obsessed with Sam’s alleged inheritance, “the Vast Brontë Estate.” All she wants to do is study English at Oxford in peace (can you blame her?), which is made admittedly more difficult when books from her past that definitely shouldn’t exist anymore start showing up on her doorstep, and when she begins having nightmares that mirror scenes from various Brontë works, and when the school happens to move her bedroom to the top of the campus’ only creepy tower. Are you picking up on that that whole madwoman upstairs thing yet?
The Madwoman Upstairs has a little bit of everything for the casual bibliophile – a little bit of action, a little bit of mystery, and a little bit of romance (which you, like me, will fall head over heels for. It involves two brooding, stubborn, awkward, adorable book nerds – need I say more?)
What I enjoyed most about this book though (and this is where my geek soul shows its true colors) is how really really smart it was. A good chunk of the dialogue is Sam and her professor’s actual discussions about classic literature, and besides actually teaching me new things, it was also so refreshing to read something as insightful and intelligent as this, while still being an entertaining and easy read (sidenote: I read this entire book in an afternoon).
Disclaimer: if you are not familiar with British literature, or if you haven’t read Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, this book will not be super appealing or make a lot of sense, so consider yourself forewarned.
All in all, I give this a 4/5 stars. Watch out for a light dusting of f-bombs, but other than that, you’re in for a real treat!