Who Is “The Madwoman Upstairs”?


The Madwoman Upstairs was a book for lovers of books and the Bronte sisters. The story followed Samantha, a descendant of the Bronte sisters, who knew tons of details about the trio of sisters who garnered worldwide fame with their literary masterpieces. As a college student, Samantha was far too smart and snarky to fit in with her peers. Instead, she fell into quick and witty repartee with her professors. 

The description said that Samantha would go on a quest to uncover lost Bronte secrets. I thought this would read sort of like Juliet, which really was a quest novel that explored classic literature and current secrets. I kept waiting for Samantha to begin the search, but the hunt wasn’t as clear as that. Instead, the trust attorney’s for Samantha’s recently deceased father gave her a small clue that played only a minor part in the current action. There was a plot, but it was hard to follow. Samantha had several scenes with professors where she spouted little known Bronte details, but that didn’t seem to relate to her quest to uncover who was leaving her books on her pillow.

The novel was really a platform for the author to expound on her theories about the Bronte sisters, which were new to me and pretty interesting. The author knew quite a bit about the female clan and opined that certain characters in their novels were based upon their actual lives. The author also believed that certain events that appeared in the novels had actually happened to the sisters in their real lives.

Even with all the Bronte information, I wanted to like this novel more than I did. I think the biggest drawback for me for this novel was that Samantha acted as if she was so much smarted than everyone around her. That arrogance made me dislike her from the beginning. Also, the writing had Samantha saying these constant one liners and snarky comments to people, which made her come across as if she thought she was really funny. I just can’t stand when characters are arrogant in that way.

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